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Organic solvent system may improve catalyst recycling and create new nanomedicine uses
Date:10/28/2010

make use of more than one metal, such as palladium with a gold core, are becoming more widely used in industrial processes. To recycle those, the new solvent system dubbed "organic aqua regia" could first use a combination of thionyl chloride and DMF to dissolve out the gold, leaving hollow palladium spheres. Then the palladium spheres could be dissolved using a different combination.

So far, the researchers have demonstrated that the solvent system can selectively dissolve gold and palladium from a mixture of gold, palladium and platinum. They have also used it to remove gold from a mixture of gold and palladium.

Beyond recycling, the new solvent system could also provide new ways of producing nanometer-scale cancer chemotherapy agents that involve these metals. And the new solvent approach could have important implications for the electronics industry, which uses noble metals that must often be removed after specific processing steps. Beyond selectivity, the new approach also offers other advantages for electronics manufacturing no potentially harmful contamination is left behind and processing is done under mild conditions.

"In semiconductor production, people want to avoid having a metal catalyst remaining in devices, but in many cases, they cannot use existing water-based processes because these can damage the semiconductor oxides and introduce contamination with free ions in the aqueous solution," explained Wei Lin, a graduate research assistant in Wong's laboratory. "Use of this organic system avoids the problem of moisture."

Use of the selective process could also facilitate recycling of noble metals used in electronics manufacturing. Wire-bonding, metallization and interconnect processes currently use noble metals.

Noble metals are also the foundation for widely-used chemotherapy agents, but the chemistry of synthesizing them involves a complex process of surfactants and precursors. Wong believe
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Contact: John Toon
jtoon@gatech.edu
404-894-6986
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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