Targeted Groundwater Remediation Using Engineered Nanoparticles

2019 Faculty Research Award

Award Period: 2019-2021

Princeton faculty members Sujit Datta and Rodney Priestley will lead the development of synthetic nanoparticles that could be used to safely and affordably remove contaminants from groundwater aquifers. The team will create novel structures they call engineered nanoscale zero valent iron (enZVI) particles, which are nanoparticles with controllable sizes, morphologies and chemistries. The structures will be embedded with naturally occurring zero valent iron nanoparticles (nZVI), which have been shown to degrade common contaminants, but are limited by an inability to target specific pollutants, among other issues. The researchers will refine the design and delivery of their engineered particles using physical 3D models of contaminated groundwater aquifers to ensure that the enZVIs can be stably transported through an aquifer to selectively target and remediate trapped contaminants.


Educational Impact

The project will provide interdisciplinary research and learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of nanoparticle formulation and fabrication, contaminant remediation, microfluidics and microscopy. In addition, the project will support a Ph.D. candidate based in both the Datta and Priestley research groups to work on this research. Findings and data from the project will be integrated into a graduate course Datta teaches on advanced thermodynamics, as well as the lecture-based Soft Materials Coffee Hour open to students and researchers of all levels. Priestley will incorporate research on nanoparticle engineering and characterization from the project into his undergraduate course,  is an instructor for “Laboratory Techniques in Materials Science and Engineering.”

Participating Departments


Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Research Associates


Graduate Students

  • Joanna Schneider, CBE