The Sustainable Environmental Nanotechnology and Nanointerfaces Laboratory integrates nanotechnology and sustainability into the research and teaching of environmental engineering, using an interdisciplinary approach to address the societal challenge of achieving environmental sustainability. Research areas include material characterization at nanoscale using a hybrid atomic force microscope (AFM); environmental behavior and physicochemical processes of engineered nanomaterials; novel photocatalytic processes for harnessing renewable energy and degrading pollutants; microalgae-harvesting and removal technologies using magnetophoretic-separation and reactive-membrane filtration; and chemically-modified polymeric and ceramic-membrane systems for removing emerging contaminants. In the investigations of nanomaterial interfaces, this laboratory specializes in probing multiple materials’ properties using a combination of AFM, Raman, and IR (Hybrid AFM). The material properties acquired at a local nanoscale include morphology, surface potential, electronic structures, hydrophobicity, chemical compositions, distribution and quantification. Holistic and accurate measurements of these properties are critical for devising functional nanomaterials used in catalysis, fuel cells, nanomedicine, drug delivery, pollution treatment and remediation.
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