In a broad sense, our group works in the development of nanomaterials for Green Chemistry applications. Within that range of possibilities, we have focused our attention in two main areas, they are wastewater remediation, and catalyst development:
Our goal is to use different nanomaterials to aid in the remediation of simulated wastewater contaminated by textile dyes and heavy metals. To attain this goal, we have taken advantage of two scientific phenomena: solid liquid adsorption and photocatalysis.
Solid-liquid adsorption relies on the physico-chemical interaction between the dye molecules and different adsorbents. As adsorbents we have applied different natural compounds and Graphene related materials.
Photocatalysis relies on the generation of radical species by radiation of a certain wavelength on the surface of a semiconductor material, then, these radical species have ability to degrade the contaminant molecule. As an initial attempt, we have used the zinc oxide (ZnO) as a model photocatalyst under UV radiation.
Combined with the contaminant elimination, we apply a physical chemistry graphical approach to analyse the results, and quantitatively compare the efficiency of the material to that certain process used for wastewater remediation.
The second research area relies on the development of transition metal oxides with controlled shape, and study how this shape variation impacts the catalytical property of that material. In a simple way, we could say that the same material with the same composition and chemical formula may have very different catalytic performance based on its shape difference.
Within the scope of reactions we aim to study solvent-free acylation reactions. The ability to promote these chemical reactions without the need to use any solvent represents a very sustainable way to comply with the Green Chemistry Principles.