Radioactive isotopes of iodine produced in the nuclear industry and used for radiotherapy are extremely hazardous and their accidental release is a serious danger. Because of this, scientists are investigating materials that capture large amounts of iodine gas and conjugated microporous polymers are perfect for this as they are strong, stable materials with holes that can be fine-tuned. An Li from the Lanzhou University of Technology and colleagues synthesised a honeycomb-like porous structure using thiophene monomers that have a strong affinity for iodine molecules. When tested, their materials trapped the largest amount of iodine vapour ever for a porous polymer 345wt%, more than three times its own mass. The team also found their material could trap iodine in liquid, and showed higher removal rates at higher concentrations of iodine, results which they hope will provide guidance for its use as an environmental iodine capture agent and open new routes to fine-tuned polymers for targeted applications.
Chemistry World, 13 July 2016 ;http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/ ;