CEE Seminar: Sustainable Design of Multifunctional Nanohybrids for Innovative Water Treatment

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium
Nirupam Aich, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering
University at Buffalo

Abstract: Engineered nanomaterials have gained much attention in the last decade for environmental remediation and water treatment technologies due to their high surface area along with excellent adsorption, reactive and catalytic properties. The recent focus of nano-enabled water treatment applications has shifted toward a new class of nanomaterials, called nanohybrids, that refers to a single nano-entity formed by the conjugation of two or more engineered nanomaterials. The motivation behind pursuing such hierarchical structures lies in the resulting enhancement or emergence of multifunctional physicochemical properties that enable improved efficiency for contaminant removal/degradation. However, these emerging properties of nanohybrids are quite different from their parent materials and, hence, can lead to unprecedented environmental and human health risks that are not predictable from prior studies of the singular materials. I will present my group’s research efforts on the rational design of multifunctional carbon-metallic nanohybrids to elucidate potential applications for effectively removing pollutants of emerging concern including pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), while determining how and to what extent the hybridization of nanomaterials alters their potential risk. Understanding the risk-benefit relationship will allow us to design safer multifunctional nanohybrids for innovative water treatment.

Bio: Nirupam Aich is currently an assistant professor of environmental engineering in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York. His research group, Aich Laboratory for Environmental Nanotechnology and Sustainability (#AichLENS), is developing safer-by-design multifunctional nanohybrids for environmental remediation and water treatment. Before joining UB, Aich obtained his doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015, a master's degree in environmental engineering from the University of South Carolina in 2012, and bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 2009. In the past 10 years of his research career, Aich has published 26 peer-reviewed articles in highly ranked journals with around 450 citations, six peer-reviewed conference papers, seven book chapters, and one patent. As recognition of his contributions to the field of environmental nanotechnology, Aich recently received the 2019 Emerging Investigator Award from the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization, which is the premier professional organization in this field. Aich also has been selected as an Emerging Investigator by Environmental Science: Nano, the leading journal in the field. Aich was also the recipient of the National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associateship Award in 2015.