Contributes to the education of scientists qualified for developing both basic and applied research.
One of the most important objectives for the next four years is to pursue basic and applied research related to nano-sized materials and their application to environmental and industrial problems. Over the coming years we expect to carry out research and development projects and to develop Line 4 and Chilean industry, with an emphasis on regional development.
Our projections are mainly related to the development of new nanomaterials and the application and impact of these materials on the environment and industry. The materials being developed have potential applications in addressing environmental problems, as well as in food packaging, cosmetics, additives in pharmaceuticals, and sensors for identifying dangers contaminants.
Our research group has experience in synthesizing and characterizing different types of nanoparticles. Research is focused on developing materials and nanomaterials for removing contaminants based on functionalizing amorphous and crystalline aluminosilicates, ferrous oxides and metallic nanoparticles. The general interest of the group is related to the structures, dynamics and reactivity of natural and synthetic colloids (growth, nucleation, aggregation) and their impact on complex matrixes like soil and water.
The materials bases on nanotechnological developments will be applied and assessed in removing chemical harmful to humans and animals from aqueous matrixes, including recovering water for domestic use and well water. We will also assess the role of nanomaterials in recovering highly contaminated waters with trace metals and chemicals from mining and industrial produces that require highly specific solutions. Given the structural and physiochemical properties of these nanomaterials, we will assess their usefulness in capturing gases emitted in numerous chemical and industrial processes to meet environmental standards.
Nanotechnology is revolutionizing agriculture through the use of intelligent sensors and systems to detect and combat crop diseases produced by viruses and other pathogens. The application of diverse nanoparticles has also improved the capacity of plants to absorb nutrients and thus increasing yields. However, the incorporation of synthetic nanoparticles into the soil can affect biochemical processes and compete with natural nanoparticles in sorption processes, which in turn can affect the availability of ions of agricultural and environmental interest. In this context, the physiochemical properties of the nanoparticles and the soil can favor the transport of trace elements to soil depths, converting these elements into nanovectors of essential elements for soil fertility like P, N and K, as well as transporting contaminants to groundwater and thus altering existing balances. The structural and surface characterization of different nanoparticles, sorption assays, soil column and hydraulic studies are all critical to understand the impact of nanotechnology on soils.
In this context, the Mössbauer Spectroscopic Laboratory will be established to study the properties of iron-bearing nanomaterials.