The invention includes an ion affinity material having an organic component which is sulfonated and which is chemically bonded to an inorganic substrate component. The invention includes a method of forming a metal binding material. A solid support material comprising surface oxide groups is provided and an organic component having at least one alkyl halide is covalently linked to at least some of the surface oxide groups to form a modified support material. The at least one alkyl halide is subsequently converted into an alkyl sulfonate. The invention further includes a method and system for extracting ions from a liquid. An ion exchange material having a sulfonated alkyl silane component covalently bonded to a metal oxide support material is provided and a liquid is exposed to the ion exchange material.