Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Organic Solvent System May Improve Recycling of Catalysts

Organic aqua regia; gold background - Researcher Wei Lin holds a beaker containing a gold/organic aqua regia solution. The image on the monitor shows gold recovered from the solution using calcinations. (Credit: Gary Meek)
Organic aqua regia; gold background - Researcher Wei Lin holds a beaker containing a gold/organic aqua regia solution. The image on the monitor shows gold recovered from the solution using calcinations. (Credit: Gary Meek)

Abstract:
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new organic solvent process that may help address the problem -- and open up new possibilities for using these metals in cancer therapeutics, microelectronics and other applications.

Organic Solvent System May Improve Recycling of Catalysts

Atlanta, GA | Posted on November 2nd, 2010

Noble metals such as platinum and palladium are becoming increasingly important because of growth in environmentally friendly applications such as fuel cells and pollution control catalysts. But the world has limited quantities of these materials, meaning manufacturers will have to rely on efficient recycling processes to help meet the demand.

Existing recycling processes use a combination of two inorganic acids known as "aqua regia" to dissolve noble metals, a class of materials that includes platinum, palladium, gold and silver. But because the metals are often dissolved together, impurities introduced in the recycling process may harm the efficiency of catalysts produced from the recycled materials. Now, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new organic solvent process that may help address the problem -- and open up new possibilities for using these metals in cancer therapeutics, microelectronics and other applications.

The new Georgia Tech solvent system uses a combination of two chemicals -- thionyl chloride and a variety of organic reagents such as pyridine, N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF), pyrimidine or imidazole. The concentrations can be adjusted to preferentially dissolve gold or palladium, and more importantly, no combination of the organic chemicals dissolves platinum. This ability to preferentially dissolve noble metals creates a customized system that provides a high level of control over the process.

"We need to be able to selectively dissolve these noble metals to ensure their purity in a variety of important applications," said C.P. Wong, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering. "Though we don't fully understand how it works yet, we believe this system opens a lot of new possibilities for using these metals."

A paper describing the research was published recently in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

Catalyst systems that make use of more than one metal, such as palladium with a gold core, are becoming more widely used in industrial processes. To recycle those, the new solvent system -- dubbed "organic aqua regia" -- could first use a combination of thionyl chloride and DMF to dissolve out the gold, leaving hollow palladium spheres. Then the palladium spheres could be dissolved using a different combination.

So far, the researchers have demonstrated that the solvent system can selectively dissolve gold and palladium from a mixture of gold, palladium and platinum. They have also used it to remove gold from a mixture of gold and palladium.

Beyond recycling, the new solvent system could also provide new ways of producing nanometer-scale cancer chemotherapy agents that involve these metals. And the new solvent approach could have important implications for the electronics industry, which uses noble metals that must often be removed after specific processing steps. Beyond selectivity, the new approach also offers other advantages for electronics manufacturing -- no potentially harmful contamination is left behind and processing is done under mild conditions.

"In semiconductor production, people want to avoid having a metal catalyst remaining in devices, but in many cases, they cannot use existing water-based processes because these can damage the semiconductor oxides and introduce contamination with free ions in the aqueous solution," explained Wei Lin, a graduate research assistant in Wong's laboratory. "Use of this organic system avoids the problem of moisture."

Use of the selective process could also facilitate recycling of noble metals used in electronics manufacturing. Wire-bonding, metallization and interconnect processes currently use noble metals.

Noble metals are also the foundation for widely-used chemotherapy agents, but the chemistry of synthesizing them involves a complex process of surfactants and precursors. Wong believes the new Georgia Tech solvent process may allow creation of novel compounds that could offer improved therapeutic effects.

"We hope this will open up some new ways of making these important pharmaceutical compounds as well as novel gold and palladium catalytic systems," he said.

Lin discovered the new solvent system by accident in 2007 while using thionyl chloride in an unrelated project that involved bonding carbon nanotubes to a gold substrate. "I left my sample in the solution and went to lunch," he recalled. "Then I received a couple of phone calls and the sample stayed in the solution for too long. When I got it out, the gold was gone."

The researchers were intrigued by the discovery and pursued an explanation as they had time over the past three years. They tested other reagents mixed with the thionyl chloride, and learned the proportions necessary for selective dissolution of palladium and gold. They worked with other researchers at Georgia Tech, including nanotechnology pioneer Zhong Lin Wang, to develop a fundamental understanding of the process -- research that is continuing.

The chemicals used by the Georgia Tech research team are well known in organic chemistry, and are used today in polymer synthesis. Beyond their selectivity, the new solvent system is more environmentally friendly than traditional aqua regia -- which is a combination of concentrated nitric and hydrochloric acids -- and can operate at mild conditions. Potential disadvantages compared to traditional aqua regia include higher costs and slower dissolution rates.

"We have opened up a new approach to noble metals using organic chemistry," Wong added. "We don't yet thoroughly understand the mechanism by which this works, but we hope to develop a more complete understanding that may lead to additional applications."

In addition to those already mentioned, the research team included Rong-Wei Zhang, Seung-Soon Jang and Jung-Il Hong, all from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Relations Assistance
John Toon
404-894-6986


Abby Vogel Robinson
404-385-3364


Copyright © Georgia Institute of Technology

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

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Chemistry

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

Possible Futures

IBM Announces $3 Billion Research Initiative to Tackle Chip Grand Challenges for Cloud and Big Data Systems: Scientists and engineers to push limits of silicon technology to 7 nanometers and below and create post-silicon future July 10th, 2014

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Surface Characteristics Influence Cellular Growth on Semiconductor Material March 12th, 2014

Academic/Education

Haydale Announces Collaboration Agreement with Swansea University’s Welsh Centre for Printing and Coatings (WCPC) July 12th, 2014

STFC takes delivery of the 100th Hitachi Tabletop SEM in the UK July 3rd, 2014

Innovation Management and the Emergence of the Nanobiotechnology Industry July 1st, 2014

Albany NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as Editor-in-Chief of the Prestigious Journal of Electronic Materials July 1st, 2014

Nanomedicine

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

FEI adds Phase Plate Technology and Titan Halo TEM to its Structural Biology Product Portfolio: New solutions provide the high-quality imaging and contrast necessary to analyze the 3D structure of molecules and molecular complexes July 28th, 2014

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 25th, 2014

Discoveries

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Announcements

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Environment

Iranian Scientists Use Waste Cotton Fibers to Produce Cellulose Nanoparticles July 29th, 2014

Production of Toxic Gas Sensor Based on Nanorods July 28th, 2014

Researchers Use Various Zinc Oxide Nanostructures to Boost Efficiency of Water Purification Process July 13th, 2014

Using Sand to Improve Battery Performance: Researchers develop low cost, environmentally friendly way to produce sand-based lithium ion batteries that outperform standard by three times July 8th, 2014

Fuel Cells

Media Advisory: Minister Rempel to Announce Support for Alberta's Nanotechnology Sector June 20th, 2014

Evolution of a Bimetallic Nanocatalyst June 6th, 2014

University of Surrey collaborates with India and Tata Steel to revolutionise renewable energy March 26th, 2014

Novel membrane reveals water molecules will bounce off a liquid surface: Study may lead to more efficient water-desalination systems, fundamental understanding of fluid flow March 16th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Harris & Harris Group Invests in Unique NYC Biotech Accelerator July 29th, 2014

Seeing is bead-lieving: Rice University scientists create model 'bead-spring' chains with tunable properties July 28th, 2014

FEI adds Phase Plate Technology and Titan Halo TEM to its Structural Biology Product Portfolio: New solutions provide the high-quality imaging and contrast necessary to analyze the 3D structure of molecules and molecular complexes July 28th, 2014

Scientists Test Nanoparticle "Alarm Clock" to Awaken Immune Systems Put to Sleep by Cancer July 25th, 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