Discover our research

Safety & Sustainability is a cross-cutting theme in NEWT. This team works with all projects in NEWT, from bench scale to testbed scale, to inform nanomaterial selection and design, device development, and technology implementation.

Our theme team quantifies potential costs and adverse impacts of materials and technologies that NEWT considers and addresses the concerns of NEWT stakeholders. We also maintain a catalogue of nanomaterials currently used in NEWT technologies. We guide selection via a nanomaterial design and selection framework based on functional perform-ance as well as environmental and human health considerations. We also provides core services such as analytical detection and tracking best methods practices.

Meet our team


  1. Guiding Research Questions

    1. Under what circumstances do NEWT technologies overcome market, regulatory and public perception barriers to provide clean drinking water or manage industrial waste streams? 
    2. How does nanomaterial aging affect treatment performance across the lifecycle of the nano-enabled water treatment device? 
    3. What analytical tools exist to cost-effectively monitor nanomaterial release from NEWT devices? And what operational practices can be taken to minimize potential nanomaterial exposures?
    4. What barriers emerge as nano-enabled water treatment devices are brought into commerce?
    5. When is it advantageous to nano-enable a water treatment technology?

Research Highlights

Environmental applications and recent innovations in single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (SP-ICP-MS)
Flores, K. Turley, R.S. Valdes, C. Ye, Y. Cantu, J., Hernandez-Viezcas, J.A.Parsons, J.G. Gardea-Torresdey, J.L. 

Public perceptions for the use of nanomaterials for in-home drinking water purification devices
Kidd, J. Westerhoff, P. Maynard, A.

A framework for sustainable nanomaterial selection and design based on performance, hazard, and economic considerations
Falinski, M. M. Plata, D. L. Chopra, S. S. Theis, T. L. Gilbertson, L. M., Zimmerman, J. B.

Student Spotlight

Some new technologies can be a net negative for the human health and the environment. NEWT’s Safety and Sustainability team allows our researcher to work alongside experts who take into account their larger environmental and sustainability consequences for novel water treatment processes.

Safety and Sustainability icon