Nano-sized Magnetic-cored Dendrimers For Environmental Decontamination


Materials - Nano Materials
Chemicals - Polymers
South Korea


A magnetic-cored dendrimer (MCD) is a nano-sized, hyperbranched polymeric adsorbent composed of a magnetic core, branch, and functional end groups. Incorporation of a magnetic core with high specific surface area enables the recovery and reusability of the dendrimers by exacting a magnetic force to recover the dendrimers. The structure of dendrimers can be customizable by tailoring the number of branches and functional end groups generated. With every increase in generation, the number of functional end groups within the dendrimer will be doubled and the synthesis can be repeated several times to achieve the optimal number of generations for the application.

The technology offered presents a solution to synthesize magnetic-cored dendrimers for environmental decontamination. Various functional groups such as amine, carboxyl, thiol, methyl, and hydroxyl groups, can be easily attached as end-groups to remove organic and inorganic contaminants. Contaminants are removed via adsorption or electrostatic interactions with the functional end groups.


MCDs produced from the technology consists of:

  • A magnetic core which has high surface area and can be easily recovered through magnetic separation
  • Repeating branch units that form three-dimensional starburst polymers to encapsulate contaminants
  • End groups that determine the sorption capacity and selectivity on contaminants

Other attributes of MCD include:

  • Good for heavy metal adsorption
  • Ability to achieve facile magnetic separation and maintaining 80% adsorption of cadmium up to 7 cycles
  • Better adsorption performance of chromium compared to magnetic nanoparticles and activated carbon
  • Each new generation increases the size by 1 to 2nm, doubling the contaminant sorption capacity
  • Tailoring of functional end group to target specific contaminants
  • Average size of 10nm


MCDs produced can be applied to water bodies for organic and inorganic contaminant removal and for environmental remediation activities in various industries such as chemicals, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. Depending on the type of functional end groups, various contaminants can be treated by means of MCD.

Applications using MCD include (but not limited to):

  • Cadmium adsorption by thiol and hydroxyl functionalized MCD
  • Chromium adsorption by thiol, hydroxyl, and carboxyl functionalized MCD
  • Collection of precious metals as gold, silver, palladium from water
  • Removal of organic contaminants and kill pathogenic bacteria efficiently by modifying MCD with chitosan
  • Provide photocatalytic performance on organic contaminants by modifying MCD with titanium dioxide
  • Capturing of carbon to harvest solar energy


  • Enhanced adsorption of contaminants compared to CNTs and metallic nanomaterials
  • Easy customization of functional groups to target certain contaminants
  • Modification of MCD possible to increase functionality
  • Cost-effective solution as MCD can be recovered through facile magnetic separation while maintaining its effectiveness of removing contaminants
  • Magnetic separation allows for a low-energy, fast, and economical separation method
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