A functionalized polymer for binding a dissolved molecule in an aqueous solution is presented. The polymer has a backbone polymer to which one or more functional groups are covalently linked. The backbone polymer can be such polymers as polyethylenimine, polyvinylamine, polyallylamine, and polypropylamine. These polymers are generally water-soluble, but can be insoluble when cross-linked. The functional group can be for example diol derivatives, polyol derivatives, thiol and dithiol derivatives, guest-host groups, affinity groups, beta-diphosphonic acids, and beta-diamides
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the United States Department of Energy to The Regents of the University of California. The Government has certain rights in the invention.