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Issue 43, 2009
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Gold adsorption on the carbon surface of C/Co nanoparticles allows magnetic extraction from extremely diluted aqueous solutions

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Abstract

The elusive chemistry of gold has made refining from ores a difficult task and often involves handling of large volumes of water at low pH values with associated high environmental burden. As a result, the broader use of gold in environmental catalysis, organic synthesis and in electronics is still limited in spite of its most attractive chemistry. Present gold extraction suffers from metal loss in the form of gold adsorbed on active carbon particles that are washed out of the extraction process. Here, we investigate the use of magnetic carbon in the form of carbon-coated metal nanomagnets for ionic gold recovery. In contrast to acid-labile iron oxide nanoparticles, the carbon/cobalt nanomagnets resisted dissolution in acidic refining/recycling waters. Repetitive extraction runs demonstrated the possibility to recycle the magnetic reagent. A series of dilution studies showed a high affinity of the ionic gold to the carbon surfaces of the nanomagnets which enabled gold extraction down to the part per billion level (microgram per litre). Detailed investigations on the morphology of the Au-loaded nanomagnets after use suggest a mechanism based on the selective reduction of ionic gold on the C/Co surface and transfer of cobalt through the carbon shell. The resulting irreversible deposition of metallic gold correlated with the release of oxidized (ionic) cobalt into the aqueous phase.

Graphical abstract: Gold adsorption on the carbon surface of C/Co nanoparticles allows magnetic extraction from extremely diluted aqueous solutions

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 Jul 2009, accepted on 26 Aug 2009 and first published on 21 Sep 2009


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B913744K
Citation: J. Mater. Chem., 2009,19, 8239-8243
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    Gold adsorption on the carbon surface of C/Co nanoparticles allows magnetic extraction from extremely diluted aqueous solutions

    M. Rossier, F. M. Koehler, E. K. Athanassiou, R. N. Grass, B. Aeschlimann, D. Günther and W. J. Stark, J. Mater. Chem., 2009, 19, 8239
    DOI: 10.1039/B913744K

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