Background: This invention relates with removing heavy metal contaminants from water. Cadmium and lead for instance are often present in detectable quantities in drinking water from pesticides and paints respectively which leach into the water system. Technology Description: The technique utilizes superparamagnetic nanoparticles (typically iron-based which are not toxic) functionalized with covalently-bonded surfactants bearing chemical groups that are capable of binding the heavy metal ions reversibly. Through application of a magnetic field to a solution of such particles and the contaminated water the contaminants may be effectively removed by a type of magnet thereby enabling one to continuously recycle the materials. Related to the disclosure is a paper by Dr. Scherson\'s team published in Analytical Chemistry (2012 v84 p3764-3770) on the synthesis of the functionalized nanoparticles and their ability to capture and release Cd2+. However this does not reflect the novel approach of the current discovery which is to apply a change in polarity of applied current rather than by adding chemicals to the solution. Applications: 1) Water Purification 2) Water Disinfection 3) Water Remediation
Superparamagnetic nanoparticles (typically iron-based) are non-toxic.