Netzer to publish on how nanotechnology can detect water contaminant

Netzer to publish on how nanotechnology can detect water contaminant

Peru, Nebraska – Dr. Nathan Netzer has co-authored a scientific paper, “Multiplexed Analysis of Molecular and Elemental Ions Using Nanowire Transistor Sensors,” published in the Elsevier Journal of Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. The paper is about the testing of a unique sensor that uses nanotechnology to sense chemicals.

Netzer is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Peru State College. His research focuses on nanotechnology. The prefix nano- indicates extreme smallness and a nanometer lives up to this definition, being equal to .000000001 meters.

“Chop a meter stick into a billion pieces and each piece is a nanometer,” Netzer explained earlier in the yeaer, “A nano is a small and specific size, so nanotechnology is using materials at the nano scale.”

Netzer appears on campus in front of the historic library building.

Dr. Nate Netzer

The sensor in Netzer’s study depends on a nanowire – a wire at the nano scale.

Some of the nanotechnology experiments organized by Netzer use MOSC (Metal Organic Super Containers). Three dimensional models of the MOSC on Netzer’s computer show molecules specially built with cavities to contain other materials.

Netzer adds, “That’s why these (multiple binding cavities) are called super containers in the first place. In our example, when we capture charged ions, this creates an ion-selective electrode.”

The abstract for the new article adds, “A biomimetic container molecule, named metal-organic supercontainer (MOSC), is selected as the ionophore for detection of methylene blue (MB+), a molecular ion, while a commercially available Na-ionophore is used for Na+, an elemental ion.”

“That electrode can then detect like ions that have an impact on biologically and environmentally important issues. For example, we have used this to detect methylene blue. Methylene blue is sometimes released into water supplies which can be harmful to aquatic life.”

The article focuses on proving the reliability of the sensor. Control experiments resulted in a stable and reproducible results. Subsequent tests in river water further showed the efficacy of the sensor.

The abstract continues, “Extensive control experiments on the MB+ sensor lead to identification of the critical role of the MOSC molecules in achieving a stable and reproducible potentiometric response. Moreover, the MB+-specific sensor shows remarkable selectivity against common interfering elemental ions in physiological samples, e.g., H+, Na+, and K+.”

The other collaborators on the project include Zhenquiang Wang of the University of South Dakota, Xi Chen, Qitao Hu, Si Chen, Shi-Li Zhang, and Zhen Zhang all of Uppsala University in Sweden.

Sensors and Actuators B: Chemicals is an international journal focused research and development of chemical transducers and dedicated to covering research and development in the field of chemical sensors, actuators and microsystems. The issue including Dr. Netzer’s paper will be released in October of 2018.

# # #

Quentin Victor contributed to this release.