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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 23 (2018) pp 137-142

Using a Guided-Inquiry Laboratory Experiment to Introduce Upper-Level Undergraduate Students to the Use of Nanotechnology in Analytical Chemistry

Isela Lavilla*, Vanesa Romero, Francisco Pena-Pereira, and Carlos Bendicho

Departamento de Química Analítica y Alimentaria, Área de Química Analítica, Facultad de Química, Universidad de Vigo, Campus As Lagoas-Marcosende s/n, 36310, Vigo, Spain,
Received May 28, 2018. Accepted June 25, 2018.

Published: 17 July 2018

Abstract. In this work, a guided-inquiry laboratory experiment that introduces the use of nanotechnology with analytical purposes in the curriculum of undergraduate students is proposed. A published laboratory procedure was used as the basis for implementing the experiment with different levels of inquiry. This involves the use of magnetite nanoparticles for determining cadmium in groundwaters by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ETAAS). Nanoparticle synthesis and analyte sorption were carried out simultaneously by ultrasound irradiation, then separation of magnetite nanoparticles was performed with an external magnet. Students were required to apply the experience acquired to Se(IV) determination. This element was selected on the basis of its different interaction with magnetite and difficulty to be determined by ETAAS in the presence of iron from magnetite. Students were assessed taking into account diverse activities such as planning of experiments, laboratory performance or obtained conclusions. A questionnaire to assess students’ satisfaction was also used.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; analytical chemistry; guided-inquiry laboratory experiment; upper-division undergraduate; nanotechnology; atomic spectroscopy; metals in water

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (757 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

A supporting material file is available. Description of ultrasonic processor, reagents and solutions, sampling and sample preservation, Cd and Se determination, CAS registry numbers and hazards, calculations and a comparison with other approaches are included. (592 KB)

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