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  1. Selective electrochemical separations can enable the recycling of valuable homogeneous catalysts for key industrial reactions. 
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  2. Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are persistent contaminants that have been continuously detected in groundwater and drinking water around the globe. Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (tradename GenX) has been used to substitute traditional PFAS, such as PFOA, but its intense use has caused widespread occurrence in water streams and often in high levels. Here, we evaluate a redox-copolymer, poly(4-methacryloyloxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-1-oxyl- co -4-methacryloyloxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine) (PTMA- co -PTMPMA), for the selective electrochemical removal of GenX. The amine functional groups promote affinity towards the anionic PFAS, and the redox-active nitroxide radicals provide electrochemical control for adsorption and desorption. Faster kinetics and higher uptake (>475 mg g −1 adsorbent) were obtained with the redox-copolymer when applying 0.8 V vs. Ag/AgCl potential compared to open circuit. The copolymer electrosorbents were evaluated over a wide pH range and diverse water matrices, with electrostatic-based mechanisms dependent on the state of protonation of the PFAS. Moreover, we translated the redox-electrodes from a batch to flow-by cell configuration, showing successful adsorption and release of GenX under flow and electrochemical control. Finally, prolonged exposure of GenX at reduction potentials generated smaller PFAS fragments at the redox-electrodes. To fully defluorinate GenX, the copolymer-functionalized electrodes were coupled with a boron-doped diamond (BDD) counter electrode for integrating separation and defluorination within the same device. The combined system demonstrated close to 100% defluorination efficiency. Thus, we highlight the potential of electroactive redox platforms for the reactive separation of fluorotelomers, and point to future directions for their practical implementation for water treatment. 
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  3. Abstract

    Synthetic chiral platforms can be a powerful platform for enantioselective interactions, especially when coupled with redox‐mediated electrochemical processes. While metallopolymers are versatile platforms for molecularly selective binding, their application for chiral applications is limited. In particular, the recognition and separation of biologically relevant chiral molecules can be key for biomanufacturing and diagnostics. Here, the design of chiral redox‐polymers enables electrochemically‐controlled enantioselective interactions, and supramolecular chirality is leveraged for enhancing recognition towards target enantiomers. Chiral redox‐metallopolymers are synthesized based on Ugi's amine‐inspired chiral monomers, and their enantioselective recognition toward ionic enantiomers such as tryptophan and naproxen is demonstrated, with higher enanhcement provided by the chiral redox‐polymer over the single‐site, chiral building bloack itelf. 2D nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and solid‐state circular dichroism support the emergence of supramolecular chirality resulting from the intramolecular interaction between the ferrocene and the alkyl group in the backbone. The half potential shift of the redox‐polymers behaves linearly from 0% to 100%eel‐tryptophan to enable enantiomer quantification. Investigation on solvent polarity and pH effect reveal that the enantioselective mechanism is attributed to the subtle balance between hydrogen bonding and π–π interaction. This study highlights the potential of chiral redox‐metallopolymers as platforms for electrochemically‐modulated enantioselective interactions towards a range of amino acids and pharmaceutical carboxylates.

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  4. Abstract

    Molecular design of redox‐materials provides a promising technique for tuning physicochemical properties which are critical for selective separations and environmental remediation. Here, the structural tuning of redox‐copolymers, 4‐methacryloyloxy‐2,2,6,6‐tetramethylpiperidin‐1‐oxyl (TMA) and 4‐methacryloyloxy‐2,2,6,6‐tetramethylpiperidine (TMPMA), denoted as P(TMAxco‐TMPMA1−x), is investigated for the selective separation of anion contaminants ranging from perfluorinated substances to halogenated aromatic compounds. The amine functional groups provide high affinity toward anionic functionalities, while the redox‐active nitroxyl radical groups promote electrochemically‐controlled capture and release. Controlling the ratio of amines to nitroxyl radicals provides a pathway for tuning the redox‐activity, hydrophobicity, and binding affinity of the copolymer, to synergistically enhance adsorption and regeneration. P(TMAxco‐TMPMA1−x) removes a model perfluorinated compound (perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)) with a high uptake capacity (>1000 mg g−1) and separation factors (500 vs chloride), and demonstrates exceptional removal efficiencies in diverse per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and halogenated aromatic compounds, in various water matrices. Integration with a boron‐doped diamond electrode allows for tandem separation and destruction of pollutants within the same electrochemical cell, enabling the energy integration of the separation step with the catalytic degradation step. The study demonstrates for the first time the tuning of redox‐copolymers for selective remediation of organic anions, and integration with an advanced electrochemical oxidation process for energy‐efficient water purification.

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  5. Abstract

    Advanced redox‐polymer materials offer a powerful platform for integrating electroseparations and electrocatalysis, especially for water purification and environmental remediation applications. The selective capture and remediation of trivalent arsenic (As(III)) is a central challenge for water purification due to its high toxicity and difficulty to remove at ultra‐dilute concentrations. Current methods present low ion selectivity, and require multistep processes to transform arsenic to the less harmful As(V) state. The tandem selective capture and conversion of As(III) to As(V) is achieved using an asymmetric design of two redox‐active polymers, poly(vinyl)ferrocene (PVF) and poly‐TEMPO‐methacrylate (PTMA). During capture, PVF selectively removes As(III) with exceptional uptake (>100 mg As/g adsorbent), and during release, synergistic electrocatalytic oxidation of As(III) to As(V) with >90% efficiency can be achieved by PTMA, a radical‐based redox polymer. The system demonstrates >90% removal efficiencies with real wastewater and concentrations of arsenic as low as 10 ppb. By integrating electron‐transfer through the judicious design of asymmetric redox‐materials, an order‐of‐magnitude energy efficiency increase can be achieved compared to non‐faradaic, carbon‐based materials. The study demonstrates for the first time the effectiveness of asymmetric redox‐active polymers for integrated reactive separations and electrochemically mediated process intensification for environmental remediation.

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