A non-covalent approach to functionalizing nanostructured materials with high-specificity ligands is described. In this work a variety of thiol ligands were non-covalently attached to self-assembled phenyl monolayers on nanostructured materials by taking advantage of favorable aromatic interactions. The resulting sorbent materials, both mesoporous silica and magnetic nanoparticles, were found to be very effective at scavenging soft heavy metal cations, Cd(ii), Hg(ii), Pb(ii) and Ag(i), from aqueous matrices, performing better than commercial sorbents and comparably to the best covalently functionalized thiol sorbents available. This approach can be extended to a variety of surface chemistries and has application to chemical functionalization of a broad range of support structures used for chemical separations and processing.
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The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Laboratory-Directed Research & Development (LDRD) Program. PNNL is operated for the U.S. DOE by Battelle Memorial Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the DOE, PNNL or Battelle. Early work was supported by an NSF CAREER Award (CHE-0545206), and we also acknowledge the University of Oregon''s Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Graduate Internship Program for generous support of this work. We gratefully acknowledge the use of UO CAMCOR facilities, which have been purchased with a combination of federal and state funding, and Dr. Lev N. Zakharov in CAMCOR for solving the crystal structure of DTP contained in the ESI.
© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2016.