Cyclodextrin functionalized magnetic iron oxide nanocrystals: a host-carrier for magnetic separation of non-polar molecules and arsenic from aqueous media†
A single-step magnetic separation procedure that can remove both organic pollutants and arsenic from contaminated water is clearly a desirable goal. Here we show that water dispersible magnetite nanoparticles prepared by anchoring carboxymethyl-β-cyclodextrin (CMCD) cavities to the surface of magnetic nanoparticles are suitable host carriers for such a process. Monodisperse, 10 nm, spherical magnetite, Fe3O4, nanocrystals were prepared by the thermal decomposition of FeOOH. Trace amounts of antiferromagnet, FeO, present in the particles provides an exchange bias field that results in a high superparamagnetic blocking temperature and appreciable magnetization values that facilitate easy separation of the nanocrystals from aqueous dispersions on application of modest magnetic fields. We show here that small molecules like naphthalene and naphthol can be removed from aqueous media by forming inclusion complexes with the anchored cavities of the CMCD-Fe3O4 nanocrystals followed by separation of the nanocrystals by application of a magnetic field. The adsorption properties of the iron oxide surface towards As ions are unaffected by the CMCD capping so it too can be simultaneously removed in the separation process. The CMCD-Fe3O4 nanocrystals provide a versatile platform for magnetic separation with potential applications in water remediation.