Bare (unmodified) and crown ether (CE)-modified Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were investigated for the rapid extraction of 226Ra from water samples. It involved synthesizing the MNPs, introducing them into the sample solutions, ultrasonicating and agitating the suspension, magnetically separating the nanoparticles from solution, and measuring the 226Ra content in the supernatant. Experimental parameters such as salt choice, salt concentration and pH were optimized to achieve maximum extraction of 226Ra onto the MNPs. 226Ra content was determined using a Hidex 300SL liquid scintillation counter with α/β separation capability, or a gamma spectrometric detection system. The bare Fe3O4 nanoparticles showed significant pH dependence for the extraction of 226Ra from an aqueous solution over a pH range of 2-10. They gave an extraction of 95 ± 1 and 98 ± 1 % at pH 9 in 0.1 M NaCl and 0.1 M NaClO4, respectively, whereas an extraction of 8-24 % was obtained, over the pH ranges from 2 to 5. The CE-modified MNPs yielded extraction efficiencies as high as 99 ± 1 % in the presence of 0.01 M picric acid at pH 4. This study demonstrates that the surface functionalization of Fe3O4 MNPs with suitable ligand modification can offer a selective mode of extraction for 226Ra in the presence of its daughter progenies.

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Keywords 226Ra, Extraction, Gamma spectroscopy, Liquid scintillation counting, Magnetic nanoparticles
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Journal Journal of Radioanalytical Chemistry
Mesnic, N. (Natalie), Sadi, B. (Baki), Li, C. (Chunsheng), & Lai, E. P. (2013). Application of magnetic nanoparticles for the extraction of radium-226 from water samples. Journal of Radioanalytical Chemistry, 298(3), 1501–1509. doi:10.1007/s10967-013-2604-x