By David Israel
The Hebrew University research was carried out by the doctoral student Raval Bengiat in the laboratory of Prof. Yossi Almog, in collaboration with Prof. Danny Mandler of the Institute of Chemistry at the Hebrew University, and will be published in February in Chemistry — A European Journal in February.
In fact, only half of the material will break down after 30 years, continuing to be a dangerous pollutant that emit radiation for decades. Cesium salts, such as sodium and potassium, are highly soluble in water and do not tend to react with many substances, which makes it difficult to purify water from cesium contamination.
There are some chemicals that can bind cesium salts from aqueous solutions and sink them, but these are expensive and their use is limited.
The Hebrew University researchers were able to develop a new substance that can bind cesium ions in water, and as a result sink them into a non-soluble and stable complex. The results of the study show that the new material can be mixed with cesium-contaminated water, filtered from the sediment containing the contamination and thus become purified.
Prof. Almog describes the new material: “For about a decade, we have been studying a group of substances which are able to bind different ions and salts. In the framework of the study, a large variety of them was prepared and their characteristics were studied, especially their potential in the field of analytical chemistry.”
“The molecule of one of these, known as the Alloxan Tray, included an unknown spatial array of six carbonic groups, which, according to their spatial location, we expected to correspond exactly to the binding of cesium ions, which are the largest single-atom ions,” Prof. Almog explained.
“Indeed, the Alloxan tray reacted with cesium ions in aqueous solutions and formed an insoluble complex with them that sank out of the solution and could be easily separated,” he said, stressing that “beyond the successful sedimentation of cesium ions, the new compound has a significant advantage – ease of preparation. The Alloxan tray can be prepared with high utilization of available, inexpensive materials.”