EAGER: A New Analyzer for In-Situ Characterization of Engineered Nanoparticles

Project: Research project

Project Details




Sadik, Omowunmi A.

Intellectual Merit

Novel environmental nanoparticle analyzers and methods are needed to assess the risks posed by engineered nanomaterials. Addressing the complex and critical issues surrounding the responsible development of nanotechnology is important both for society and the environment. The progress of society as technological advances are introduced has often resulted in the simultaneous emergence of adverse effects either for human health, the ecosystem or both. The emerging field of environmental nanotechnology is a critical research area, and one which would greatly benefit from a rapid EAGER support. Hence, the immediate goal of this research is to develop an environmentally-relevant, portable nanoparticle analyzer which can measure various levels of nanomaterials directly from pure standards, simulated matrices and real-world samples. The proposed research is expected to bridge the knowledge and methodology gaps associated with the potential environmental health and safety (EH&S) issues of nanomaterials. The resulting technology should provide information about the size or shape of the nanoparticle, which are important factors for determining toxicity; as well as distinguish them from naturally-occurring particles.

The research will make use of a new class of flexible, optically transparent conducting nanoporous membranes to simultaneously capture, isolate and detect engineered nanomaterials. Selected metal oxides and carbon based nanomaterials will be tested by integrating electrochemistry, polyamic acid membranes and tangential flow filtration to create a system that can be used in situ.

Broader Impacts

A major outcome of this project is an environmentally-relevant portable sensor system which can measure the levels of various nanomaterials directly from the environmental samples and possibly remedy them via filtration. The approach provides information regarding the size and other physical parameters of the nanomaterials, which are important in determining nanomaterials toxicity. This approach can be of great benefit for environmental and security applications because the portable analyzers can be deployed in many places to safeguard the environment, public safety, and security. This research will provide excellent training experience for graduate students as well as train undergraduate minority students who will gain exposure to field environmental analysis. Further, this research will support the enhancement of existing graduate and undergraduate courses including Chemistry and the Environment (CHEM 552C/482C) and Sensors and Bioelectronics (CHEM 424/524). Other dissemination plans include presentations at national conferences and joint publications in peer-reviewed journals in related fields.

Effective start/end date7/1/1212/31/14


  • National Science Foundation: $110,000.00


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