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Low-Field Magnetic Separation of Monodisperse Fe3O4 Nanocrystals

This scientific article, written by researchers at Rice University in the United States, describes how magnetite (iron) nanocrystals — or 'nanorust' — can be used to remove arsenic from contaminated water. The authors describe the discovery of unexpected magnetic interactions between nanoparticles of rust that mean they can be easily extracted from water using a hand-held magnet.

Iron is well known for its ability to bind arsenic and the researchers' experiments show that by suspending the nanoparticles of rust in arsenic-contaminated water, arsenic levels were reduced to well below accepted standards for drinking water.