Current technologies for water purification are limited by their contaminant-specific removal capability, requiring multiple processes to meet water quality objectives. Here we show an innovative biomimetic micellar nanocoagulant that imitates the structure of Actinia, a marine predator that uses its tentacles to ensnare food, for the removal of an array of water contaminants with a single treatment step. The Actinia-like micellar nanocoagulant has a core–shell structure and readily disperses in water while maintaining a high stability against aggregation. To achieve effective coagulation, the nanocoagulant everts its configuration, similar to Actinia. The shell hydrolyses into ‘flocs’ and destabilizes and enmeshes colloidal particles while the core is exposed to water, like the extended tentacles of Actinia, and adsorbs the dissolved contaminants. The technology, with its ability to remove a broad spectrum of contaminants and produce high-quality water, has the potential to be a cost-effective replacement for current water treatment processes.
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The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
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The authors are grateful for financial support from the Major Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 91434132), the Fund for Innovative Research Group of NSFC (grant no. 51721006) and the US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship awarded to R.M.D.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Liu, J., Cheng, S., Cao, N. et al. Actinia-like multifunctional nanocoagulant for single-step removal of water contaminants. Nature Nanotech 14, 64–71 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-018-0307-8
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