Issue 16, 2023

A carbon dot-based clay nanocomposite for efficient heavy metal removal


Carbon dots and their derivatives with fascinating photoluminescence properties have recently attracted tremendous scientific attention. This work describes the preparation of novel fluorescent bentonite clay (B), modified with carbon dot nanomaterials (CDs), and its usage as a lead removal platform. The CDs were prepared using a hydrothermal method from graphitic waste which served as the carbon source material. The as-obtained CDs were found to be fluorescent, being spherical in shape, positively charged, and smaller than 5 nm. Encouraged by their structure and photoluminescence features, they were used as surface modifiers to make fluorescent bentonite nanocomposites. Bentonite was used as a negatively charged model of aluminosilicate and reacted with the positively charged CDs. XRD, FTIR, XPS, and fluorescence analysis were used to characterize the prepared materials. The results indicate that the CDs intercalated inside the bentonite matrix were stable with excellent optical properties over time. They were finally used as an efficient hybrid platform for lead removal with a removal efficiency of 95% under light conditions, at room temperature, in an alkaline medium, and after only 10 min of reaction, compared to 70% under dark conditions. The pseudo-second-order kinetics and Langmuir isotherm models were better fitted to describe the adsorption process. The maximum adsorption capacity was equal to 400 mg g−1 toward Pb(II) removal, at room temperature and pH = 8, under light conditions. To summarize, we have designed UV light stimuli responsive carbon dot-intercalated clay with high Pb(II) adsorption capacity and long-term stability.

Graphical abstract: A carbon dot-based clay nanocomposite for efficient heavy metal removal

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
16 May 2023
16 Jun 2023
First published
03 Jul 2023
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Nanoscale Adv., 2023,5, 4224-4232

A carbon dot-based clay nanocomposite for efficient heavy metal removal

K. Jlassi, M. Al Ejji, A. K. Ahmed, H. Mutahir, M. H. Sliem, A. M. Abdullah, M. M. Chehimi and I. Krupa, Nanoscale Adv., 2023, 5, 4224 DOI: 10.1039/D3NA00334E

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