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Sat May 25, 2019, 09:53 AM

Building a better salt trap: IU researchers synthesize a molecular 'cage' to trap chloride

Indiana University researchers have created a powerful new molecule for the extraction of salt from liquid. The work has the potential to help increase the amount of drinkable water on Earth.
Yun Liu holds a 3D-printed model of the chloride capture molecule
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Yun Liu holds a 3D-printed model of the chloride-capture molecule. Photo by Fred Zwicky, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Built using chemical bonds previously regarded as too weak, the new molecule is about 10 billion times improved compared to a similar structure created over a decade ago at IU. The molecule's design is reported today in the journal Science.

"If you were to place one-millionth of a gram of this molecule in a metric ton of water, 100 percent of them will still be able to capture a salt," said Yun Liu, who led the study as a Ph.D. student in the lab of Amar Flood, the James F. Jackson Professor of Chemistry and Luther Dana Waterman Professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Chemistry.

https://news.iu.edu/stories/2019/05/iub/releases/23-chemistry-chloride-salt-capture-molecule.html?T=AU

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It still takes a couple of months to synthesize the molecule. Until it can be done on an industrial scale, it's only an interesting lab experiment.

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