SYNTHESIS AND CHARACTERIZATION OF NEW FE AND CU NANOPARTICLE HYDROGELS
Miguel Algara, Juan Noveron.
University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX.
Research in transition-metal nanoparticles has gathered momentum lately due to numerous applications in a variety of fields like biomedical sciences where they can serve as catalysts, sensors, drug-delivery systems, environmental remediation, and separation science. Because of the newly established health risks that nanoparticles pose, there is a need to develop new systems that make use of the extraordinary functions of nanoparticles yet anchor them within porous materials that encapsulate them and prevent their leakage into the environment. In this project, we developed hydrogels that contain Fe nanoparticles and Cu nanoparticles trapped within their interstitial environments. The gels were produced by combining the corresponding transition metal (II) nitrate with acrylic acid, polyethyleneglycol diacrylate, and a free-radical initiator and allowed to thermopolymerize in methanol. Afterwards, sodium borohydride reduction of the soluble product resulted in a colored hydrogel. The characterization of the transition metal hydrogels with transition electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and electron paramagnetic spectroscopy will be presented.