Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Key to Closing Nuclear Cycle May Be a Thin Layer of Rust

Abstract:
Highly magnetic nanoparticles, originally devised for biomedical purposes, soon will be tested against one of the most toxic substances known to man - spent nuclear fuel.

Key to Closing Nuclear Cycle May Be a Thin Layer of Rust

MOSCOW, ID | Posted on November 5th, 2008

The project - funded by a one-year, $732,000 Department of Energy research grant - plans to prove the feasibility of using MNPs joined with binding chemicals called chelators to extract radioactive nuclides, such as uranium and plutonium, from spent nuclear fuel.

Leading the interdisciplinary nano-research team at the University of Idaho are principle investigators You Qiang, associate professor of physics, and Andrzej Paszczynski, associate professor of microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry. The pair will work in collaboration with Linfeng Rao, nuclear chemist at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory in California.

If successful, scientists at the University of Idaho will kill three birds with one nanoparticle by recovering usable nuclear fuel, making nuclear waste easier and safer to dispose of, and accomplishing the task in an environmentally friendly way.

"We believed from the very beginning that this project was a very good idea," said Paszczynski. "To achieve energy independence, America likely will build many new nuclear power plants. More plants mean more waste, which must be reduced and recycled."

The fundamental technology that makes the process possible is the ability to make the MNPs. These are tiny pieces of pure iron nanoparticles coated with a layer of iron oxides, commonly known as rust, just two nanometers thick. Because of their iron core, the MNPs are 10 times more magnetic than commercially available nanoparticles that typically are made entirely of iron oxide. The trick to using nanoparticles made of pure iron is the thin coating of iron oxide, which prevents the core from completely oxidizing into rust.

The particles can be created in exact sizes, ranging from two nanometers to 100 nanometers in diameter. At their largest, scientists still could fit 100 million nanoparticles on the head of a pin. At their smallest, a pin head could fit 250 billion.

The project will explore a process applied to the MNPs that allows the tiny pieces of iron to selectively grab on to radioactive metals belonging to the actinides group of elements. The nanoparticles are coated by an organic molecule that acts like glue for other chemicals, in this case holding alkyl-oxa-diamide. This long-named chemical compound works like Velcro, grabbing and holding tennis balls. Except in this case, the tennis balls actually are radioactive metal ions.

Because the MNPs have such a high magnetic momentum, a small magnetic field selectively can yank the MNPs with attached radioactive molecules out of the nuclear waste. Once separated, a process breaks the bonds, separating the actinides from the nanoparticles, both of which can be reused.

"The process uses environmentally friendly chemical molecules," said Qiang, "The MNPs are not toxic and can even be reused many times. The process does not produce any secondary waste."

Qiang originally created the MNPs for biomedical purposes and sees them being used to improve cancer detection with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as miniature heaters to attack malignant cells or as high precision drug delivery devices.

Despite the original purpose, when Qiang saw a presentation about nuclear separation technology at a DOE meeting in early 2006, he immediately recognized the possibilities. He approached Rao at the conference, and collaboration was born.

Qiang has the expertise in magnetism to create the nanoparticles, Paszczynski and Rao specialize in designing and putting the organic link between particle and actinide. Also, Rao has the nuclear expertise and facilities to work with the extremely dangerous substances.

"We need a nuclear specialist, physicist and organic biochemist to even make the right experiments," said Paszczynski. "It truly is an interdisciplinary research group."

The group currently is researching how to confirm that the nanoparticles have attached and are holding to the desired actinide. They also must investigate how the MNP's magnetic properties change once it is attached and also how to release the radioactive material once separated from the spent fuel.

The developing technology is superior to current nuclear separation technologies in many ways. Some current techniques result in impurities in the final product while others generate significant amounts of hazardous secondary waste.

"You not only have to have a good idea - a good project - you also have to be willing to work together," said Paszczynski. "Qiang and I have worked very well together for several years, and because we also developed good relations with Dr. Rao's research group, we're hoping this will be a long-term, successful project."

####

About Highly magnetic nanoparticles, originally devised for biomedical purposes, soon will be tested again
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ken Kingery
University Communications
(208) 885-9156

Copyright © University of Idaho

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Electrical Pieces Usable in Human Body December 18th, 2014

Switching to spintronics: Berkeley Lab reports on electric field switching of ferromagnetism at room temp December 17th, 2014

ORNL microscopy pencils patterns in polymers at the nanoscale December 17th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Zenosense, Inc. - Hospital Collaboration - 400 Person Lung Cancer Detection Trial December 17th, 2014

SUNY Poly NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as American Physical Society Fellow: SUNY Poly Associate Professor of Nanoscience Dr. Vincent LaBella Recognized for Significant Technological Innovations that Enable Interactive Learning December 17th, 2014

Switching to spintronics: Berkeley Lab reports on electric field switching of ferromagnetism at room temp December 17th, 2014

ORNL microscopy pencils patterns in polymers at the nanoscale December 17th, 2014

Announcements

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Electrical Pieces Usable in Human Body December 18th, 2014

Unraveling the light of fireflies December 17th, 2014

First Home-Made Edible Herbal Nanodrug Presented to Pharmacies across Iran December 17th, 2014

Environment

Nanoparticles Prove Effective in Removing Phosphor from Calcareous Soil December 10th, 2014

Detecting gases wirelessly and cheaply: New sensor can transmit information on hazardous chemicals or food spoilage to a smartphone December 8th, 2014

Nanocatalysts Can Reduce Pollution Caused by Diesel Engines December 4th, 2014

Green meets nano: Scientists at TU Darmstadt create multifunctional nanotubes using nontoxic materials December 3rd, 2014

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

SUNY Poly NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as American Physical Society Fellow: SUNY Poly Associate Professor of Nanoscience Dr. Vincent LaBella Recognized for Significant Technological Innovations that Enable Interactive Learning December 17th, 2014

“Line dancing bacteria win the 2014 Dolomite and Lab on a Chip Video Competition” December 16th, 2014

Lifeboat Foundation gives 2014 Guardian Award to Elon Musk December 16th, 2014

UCLA engineers first to detect and measure individual DNA molecules using smartphone microscope December 15th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE