Project TitleDecontamination of Radioactive Water Using a Novel Polymer for Ion Exchange
Track Code2007-080, 2008-099, 2008-169, 2008-171
Short Description

Advanced material for specific capture of radioactive ions from mixed solutions at high temperature and alkaline pH

#environment #remediation #materials #manufacturing #composite


Radioactive water waste presents several unique challenges to remediation efforts. It often contains large amounts of other, innocuous ions as well as being extremely alkaline and at high temperature. Most materials that are commonly used for decontamination are simply not stable enough to survive these conditions and still effectively bind ions. Northwestern University researchers have invented a method to generate bulk quantities of a highly stable material that can bind radioactive ions effectively. In laboratory tests, this novel polymer is able to bind cesium ion with a high specificity even when other competing ions are in excess. Furthermore, uranium dioxide, plutonium and thorium are also effectively removed from wastewater, as well as strontium, mercury, lead and cadmium. The material has been tested by two mining companies, two integrated remediation firms, a national lab and a large petroleum company. The results have shown that the key strength of this novel material from the Kanatzidis group is its ability to perform in a complex environment, where there is a need to capture multiple metal ions from a sample. This superior material is environmentally friendly, simple and inexpensive to manufacture, which will make it a candidate for implementation into a variety of industrial settings where achieving regulatory compliance is a priority.

Tagsenvironment: remediation, MATERIALS: manufacturing, MATERIALS: composite
Posted DateMar 3, 2015 11:15 AM


Mercouri G. Kanatzidis*

Emmanouil Manos

Joshua L. Mertz

Nan Ding


  • Radioactive wastewater treatment
  • Production of water filters
  • Pulp and paper production
  • Cosmetics production
  • Environmental remediation


  • Cost-effective
  • Highly specific for cesium ions in mixtures
  • Stable in harsh conditions (high temperature, high salt concentration, high pH)
  • Simple to synthesize in large quantities


IP Status

International patent application has been filed and a US patent number 8,070,959 has been issued.

Contact Information

Chao Zhang, PhD

Invention Manager

(p) 847-491-4629