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Laboratory of Environmental Materials
The laboratory aims at some major problems related to environmental pollution control, advanced material and technology of green industry and agriculture. Depending on Key Laboratory of Ion Bioengineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences and with the support of ion beam device platform, the lab carries out the research on nano, biological and environmental materials, and is dedicated to developing new functional materials which have environment renovation ability, biocompatibility and catalytic activity etc by means of chemical method or physical technology.
Research Direction
1. Development of modified materials and their application
2. Environmental pollution control materials and their application

Research Progress and Achievements
1. Inorganic nano material (attapulgite) modified by ion beam
Natural attapulgite (AT) rods do not exist alone, because usually they could easily form many bunches of aggregates, resulting in a lower specific surface area than the theoretical value. To resolve this problem, we used ion beam radiation to enhance the dispersibility of AT from bunches to single rods. Meanwhile, complex networks formed and the specific surface area increased. (Published in Nanotechnology, 2009)

                  SEM images of the natural AT (N-AT) (left) and modified AT (M-AT) (right) by ion beam.

2. Algal removal by modified ATP and the safety valuation
Modified attapulgite (M-AT) and Natural attapulgite (N-AT) were used to evaluate their flocculation efficiencies and mechanisms in freshwater containing harmful algal blooms through conventional jar test procedure. The experimental results showed that the efficiency of flocculation could be significantly improved by M-AT. The high efficiency for M-AT to flocculate Microcystis aeruginosa in freshwater was due to the mechanism of bridging and netting effect. Caenorhabditis elegans was used to detect the toxicity of N-AT and M-AT. The results showed that there was no significant toxicity on this organism. Using modified attapulgite to remove the harmful algal blooms could have the advantages of high effectiveness, low cost, and low impact on the environment. (Published in Water Research, 2011)

                                        Algal removal effect of natural attapulgite and modified attapulgite.
3. Controlling pesticide loss through nano networks
This work describes the feasibility of using high energy electron beam (HEEB) modified natural nanoclay (attapulgite) as an effective matrix to control the loss of pesticide which tends to discharge into the environment through washing and leaching, causing severe pollution to both soil and groundwater. After irradiated by HEEB, because of thermal, charge and impact effects, the originally aggregated attapulgite could be obviously dispersed and form nano porous networks, which could be beneficial for the binding of pesticide onto attapulgite. A loss control pesticide (LCP) was obtained when such attapulgite was added to traditional pesticide. This pesticide-attapulgite complex could be retained by the rough surface of crop leaves, making the adhesion of pesticide on crop leaves increase and the pesticide loss reduce, so that sufficient pesticide is supplied and the pollution risk of the pesticide is substantially lowered. (Published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2014)

 HEEB modified natural nanoclay (attapulgite) could be used as an effective matrix to control the loss of pesticide.
4. Composite of functional mesoporous silica and DNA: an enzyme-responsive controlled release drug carrier system
An efficient enzyme-responsive controlled release carrier system was successfully fabricated using single-stranded DNA encapsulated functional mesoporous silica nanoparticles. Mesoporous silica nanoparticles were initially fabricated through hydrolysis of tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) in cetyltrimethylammonium chloride (CTAC) solution, and the surface of nanoparticles could be encapsulated with single-stranded DNA. This nanomaterial has excellent bioactivity and its hydrolysate can not cause damage for normal cell, thus the biocompatibility of the nanomaterial is improved. In addition, this nanomaterial showed an excellent drug release performance when loaded with drugs, which would be helpful to increase the treatment efficiency and decrease side effects of drugs. (Published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2014)

Drug release process of drug-loaded (3-Aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTES) modified mesoporous silica nanoparticle (AMSN) encapsulated with DNA.