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These tiny, self-assembling traps capture PFAS

University at Buffalo chemists have shown that self-assembling molecular traps can be used to capture PFAS—dangerous pollutants that have contaminated drinking water supplies around the world. The traps are made from iron-based and organic building blocks that connect, like Legos, to form a tetrahedral cage. Experiments showed that these structures bind to certain PFAS (short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), and a lab analysis revealed how this happens. As it turns out, the PFAS stick strongly to the outside of the cages instead of getting caught inside, researchers say. These insights were detailed in a study released this month and could help scientists fine-tune the traps in favorable ways—for example, by enlarging the openings of the cages to potentially catch other types of PFAS. The eventual goal is to use such cages—known as metallacages—in systems that isolate PFAS from water, which could lead to better water treatment, or improved techniques for detecting the pollutants in water. Read more....



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