Sponge-supported synthesis of colloidal selenium nanospheres

Snober Ahmed, John Brockgreitens, Ke Xu, Abdennour Abbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


With increasing biomedical and engineering applications of selenium nanospheres (SeNS), new efficient methods are needed for the synthesis and long-term preservation of these nanomaterials. Currently, SeNS are mostly produced through the biosynthesis route using microorganisms or by using wet chemical reduction, both of which have several limitations in terms of nanoparticle size, yield, production time and long-term stability of the nanoparticles. Here, we introduce a novel approach for rapid synthesis and long-term preservation of SeNS on a solid microporous support by combining a mild hydrothermal process with chemical reduction. By using a natural sponge as a solid three-dimensional matrix for nanoparticle growth, we have synthesized highly monodisperse spherical nanoparticles with a wide size range (10-1000 nm) and extremely high yield in a relatively short period of time (1 h). Additionally, the synthesized SeNS can be stored and retrieved whenever needed by simply washing the sponge in water. Keeping the nanospheres in the support offers remarkable long-term stability as particles left on the sponge preserve their morphological and colloidal characteristics even after eight months of storage. Furthermore, this work reveals that SeNS can be used for efficient mercury capture from contaminated waters with a record-breaking mercury removal capacity of 1900 mg g-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number465601
Issue number46
StatePublished - Oct 17 2016


  • mercury sorbent
  • nanoparticle synthesis
  • natural sponge
  • selenium nanospheres
  • sponge-supported growth


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