Layered europium hydroxide system for phosphorous sensing and remediation

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A Layered Lanthanide Hydroxide (LLH) material based on europium (LEuH, Eu8(OH)20Cl4.6H2O) was intercalated with 2,6-naphtalenedicarboxylate (NDC) yielding a material presenting the bright red luminescence characteristic of Eu3 +, both by direct excitation of europium and energy transfer from NDC. The material behaves as a sensor towards anions which display the ability to exchange with NDC. The sensor was tested with several anions (phosphate, sulphate, pyrophosphate, acetate, and tetraborate anions) and the changes in NDC (λem = 380 nm) and europium (λem = 615 nm) emission intensities upon excitation of NDC (λex = 357 nm), were studied. Phosphate was found to have the highest degree of intercalation and displayed a strong increase (400% fold) on the fluorescence intensity of NDC. The presence of phosphate was further confirmed with Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometer (ICP-AES). Taking advantage of LEuH selectivity towards phosphate, its applicability in phosphorus remediation was studied presenting high sequestration capacity followed by controlled release of phosphate in three consecutive cycles and improved stability of the LEuH host material. These results highlight the significant potential of LLHs as new scavenging agents for inorganic phosphate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-222
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Clay Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2017


  • Layered lanthanide hydroxide
  • Layered rare earth hydroxide
  • Phosphate adsorption
  • Phosphate sensing
  • Phosphorus remediation


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