Novel nanomaterials for environmental applications and nanomedicine

Joaquín Silvestre-Albero (Departament de Química Inorgànica, Universitat d'Alacant)

Location: Sala de Graus, ETSEQ
Start time: June 15, 2012, 12 p.m.


The great progress achieved in the last few years in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology has been inevitable linked to the design of new nanomaterials able to perform optimum in a given application. In this sense, materials science has been crucial in hot topics such as environmental science and nanomedicine.
One of the main problems of our society in the field of environmental science concerns the large dependence on fossil fuels and, consequently, the emission of large quantities of greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, to the atmosphere. Taking into account that CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas associated with the climate change, the remediation of CO2 emissions is a challenging task. Among the different technologies for CO2 abatement, adsorption using porous solids is a promising alternative to the actual technology based on absorption processes using basic solvents (e.g. amines). In any case, an optimum sorbent for CO2 capture must combine a large adsorption capacity, an easy regeneration and, more importantly, it must be able to selectively adsorb CO2 and discriminate molecules of similar molecular dimensions such as CH4 or N2, typically present in industrial streams. In this sense, the appropriate selection of the porous material (e.g. activated carbon), the carbon precursor used (e.g. petroleum pitch) and the preparation conditions (e.g. chemical activation using KOH) allows the design of activated carbon materials able to fulfill all these requirements. A subsequent goal in the selective capture of CO2 concern the development of new nanomaterials able to convert the entrapped CO2 into valuable products, such as CH4, CH3OH, and so on. In this sense, the design and development of proper Ti-based photocatalysts with the appropriate porous structure and active centers (Ti4+ active sites) could be used to perform the well-known artificial photosynthesis, i.e. the conversion of CO2 into solar fuels.
Another research area where material science is becoming crucial concerns the field of nanomedicine. >In this sense, in the last few years there has been a growing research focusing in the development of biocompatible nanomaterials for biological applications (e.g. drug delivery). One of the main areas where drug delivery is becoming a cutting edge concern cancer therapy. Actual chemotherapies are based on the incorporation of the drug (platinum precursor; e.g. cis-platinum) in human blood, this process exhibiting large secondary effects (e.g. hair loss). New technologies are focusing in the incorporation of the pharmaceutical compound (cis-platinum) into an inorganic reservoir or carrier able to selectively recognize the damaged cells, avoiding secondary effects in the organism. In this sense, materials science is playing a crucial role in the development of these biocompatible carriers based on high-surface area titanias or silicas, where the active compound is supported on the carrier´s surface.

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About Joaquín Silvestre-Albero

Institution: Departament de Química Inorgànica, Universitat d'Alacant

Dr. Joaquín Silvestre Albero got his Bachelor in Chemistry at the Universidad de Alicante in 1998 and his PhD at the same university in 2003. He is working there at the moment as a Professor.
He has done stages at University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison-USA), University of Dundee (Dundee-Escocia), Instituto de Tecnología Química (UPV-CSIC), Fritz-Haber Institut (Berlín-Alemania), Technische Universität Wien (Viena-Austria), Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (México DF-México) and Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá-Colombia).
He has received several awards such as Premio Extraordinario de Licenciatura, Premio al Rendimiento Académico de la Comunidad Valenciana, IX Premio San Alberto Magno de Investigación de la RSEQ and Premio Alexander von Humboldt.
He is the author of 65 papers in international journals and has participated in 98 national and International congresses.

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