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Chemist monitors nanotechnology's environmental impact
Date:3/25/2010

d test sensors for monitoring engineered nanoparticles and naturally occurring cell particles.

"We need to understand the chemical transformation of these materials in the ecosystem so we can take action to prevent unnecessary exposure," Sadik said. Her lab has already created a membrane that will not only trap a single nanoparticle but also provide a means of signal generation. It uses cyclodextrin, whose molecular structure resembles a tiny cup. "It can be used not only as a sensor, but also for cleanup," Sadik said.

That discovery and others make Sadik believe that nanotechnology may also prove useful in the remediation of environmental pollutants. Green nanotechnology could even reduce the use of solvents and result in manufacturing protocols that produce less waste, she said.

For instance, Sadik has used nanoparticles to transform Chromium 6, a known carcinogen, into Chromium 3, which is benign. "I do see the positive side of it," she said.

"We want to be able to develop nanomaterials while avoiding the unintended consequences of such developments," Sadik added. "We don't want to stop development, but we do want to encourage responsibility."


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Contact: Gail Glover
gglover@binghamton.edu
607-777-2174
Binghamton University
Source:Eurekalert  

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