News From the Field
A Venus Flytrap for Nuclear Waste
January 26, 2010
Like a Venus flytrap, a material developed at Northwestern University permanently traps only its desired prey, the radioactive ion cesium, and not harmless sodium ions. The material can remove 100 percent of the cesium--found in nuclear waste but very difficult to clean up--from a sodium-heavy solution. It is cesium itself that triggers a structural change in the material, causing it to snap shut its pores and trap the cesium ions.
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