Graphene-based Janus micromotors for the dynamic removal of pollutants†
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are ubiquitous in the environment as a result of modern industrial processes. We present an effective POPs decontamination strategy based on their dynamic adsorption at the surface of reduced graphene oxide (rGO)-coated silica (SiO2)–Pt Janus magnetic micromotors for their appropriate final disposition. While the motors rapidly move in a contaminated solution, the adsorption of POPs efficiently takes place in a very short time. Characterization of the micromotors both from the materials and from the motion point of view was performed. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy) phenol (triclosan) were chosen as model POPs and the removal of the contaminants was efficiently achieved. The rGO-coated micromotors demonstrated superior adsorbent properties with respect to their concomitant GO-coated micromotors, static rGO-coated particles and dynamic silica micromotors counterparts. The extent of decontamination was studied over the number of micromotors, whose magnetic properties were used for their collection from environmental samples. The adsorption properties were maintained for 4 cycles of micromotors reuse. The new rGO-coated SiO2 functional material-based micromotors showed outstanding capabilities towards the removal of POPs and their further disposition, opening up new possibilities for efficient environmental remediation of these hazardous compounds.