Efficient and selective heavy metal sequestration from water by using layered sulfide K2:XSn4-xS8-x (x = 0.65-1; KTS-3)

Debajit Sarma, Saiful M. Islam, K. S. Subrahmanyam, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Heavy metal ions (Cd2+, Hg2+, As3+ and Pb2+) are an important contributor to the contamination of groundwater and other water bodies in and around industrial areas. Herein, we demonstrate the rapid and efficient capacity of a layered metal sulfide material, K2xSn4-xS8-x (x = 0.65-1, KTS-3) for heavy metal ion removal from water. The effect of concentration, pH, kinetics, and competitive ions such as Na+/Ca2+ on the heavy metal ion removal capacity of KTS-3 was systematically investigated. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), elemental analyses, and powder X-ray diffraction studies revealed that the heavy metal ion-exchange of KTS-3 is complete (quantitative replacement of all potassium ions) and topotactic. The heavy metal ion-exchange by using KTS-3 follows the Langmuir-Freundlich model with high exchange capacities, qm 205(17) mg g-1 for Cd2+, 372(21) mg g-1 for Hg2+ and 391(89) mg g-1 for Pb2+. KTS-3 retains excellent heavy metal ion-exchange capacity even in very high concentration (1 M) of competing ions (Na+/Ca2+) and also over a broad pH range (2-12). KTS-3 also exhibits very good ion-exchange capacity for precious Ag+ and toxic As3+ ions. The kinetics of heavy metal ion adsorption by KTS-3 are rapid (absorbs all ions within a few minutes). These properties and the environmentally friendly character of KTS-3 make it a promising candidate for sequestration of heavy metal ions from water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16597-16605
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number42
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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