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Janus Superparticles: from the basis to the strategic metals capture

Grant number: 21/12422-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2022
Effective date (End): June 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Inorganic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Henrique Eisi Toma
Grantee:João Victor Mattioni
Supervisor: Daeyeon Lee
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Pennsylvania, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:19/14771-5 - Development of superparamagnetic nanoparticles functionalized with complexing agents for the capture and exploitation of strategic metals, BP.DD


Engineering small nanocrystal building blocks to construct mesoscopic multifunctional architectures has been the benchmark of nanoscience and provides the possibility of exploiting the size-tunable properties of the integrated macroscopic devices. The preparation of dispersible aggregates with controllable size, shape, and composition, called superparticles, represents a challenge that may lead to the development of strategies for the solution-based synthesis of nanoscale devices. Besides, using those aggregates to attach another functional nanoparticle allow the production of new classes of hybrid composites, displaying combined features, but keeping the individual characteristics of the original building blocks. Among these, there is particular interest in the creation of an amphiphilic composite that exhibit hydrophobic characters on one side and hydrophilic on the other, akin to the dual-face Roman god, Janus. Herein, our objective is to fabricate a multifunctional Janus superparticle that has a multi magnetic core made of iron oxide nanoparticles and a surface with two other functionalities separated into well-defined regions, rendering a powerful and versatile tool that can be modulated to perform tasks as demanded, such as capturing and recovering strategic metals from aqueous solutions. We intend to achieve this by encapsulating the superparticle surface with polymers such as polyvynilpyrrolidone, which will allow their manipulation and confinement as in Pickering emulsions or polymerization-induced phase separation, for controlled modification at interfaces, resulting in the desired Janus particle. (AU)

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