The purpose of this research project is to develop a method to attach imprint polymers onto nanoparticles for waste water treatment. We are achieving these goals through a microwave-assisted synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles, grafting surface of these particles with acrylic acid, and polymerization around a template molecule to create a reusable imprint polymer with the ability to bind, and rebind specific molecules. This project will focus on the removal of common drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and caffeine that can easily enter the environment through continued human use. The approximate size of the iron oxide particles were found by SEM images and the particles at different points in the reaction scheme were characterized by the use of IR spectroscopy. With evidence of an emergence of a C=O peak (1720 cm-1) from the attached acrylic acid and acrylamide in the polymer, it was concluded that the polymerization was successful. Further research will include a more accurate size analysis of the iron oxide nanoparticles and the use of UV-Vis spectroscopy to study the binding and selectivity of the polymer for the target molecules.
Poster, Final Report Form, Research Report