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Nanoscale chemical imaging of nanoparticles under real‐world wastewater treatment conditions

DOI: 10.1002/adsu.202100023 DOI Help

Authors: Miguel A. Gomez-Gonzalez (Imperial College London) , Mohamed A. Koronfel (Imperial College London) , Huw Pullin (Bristol University) , Julia E. Parker (Diamond Light Source) , Paul D. Quinn (Diamond Light Source) , Maria D. Inverno (Imperial College London) , Thomas B. Scott (Bristol University) , Fang Xie (Imperial College London) , Nikolaos Voulvoulis (Imperial College London) , Marian L. Yallop (University of Bristol) , Mary P. Ryan (Imperial College London) , Alexandra E. Porter (Imperial College London)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Advanced Sustainable Systems , VOL 45

State: Published (Approved)
Published: May 2021
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 17784

Abstract: Understanding nanomaterial transformations within wastewater treatment plants is an important step to better predict their potential impact on the environment. Here, spatially resolved, in situ nano‐X‐ray fluorescence microscopy is applied to directly observe nanometer‐scale dissolution, morphological, and chemical evolution of individual and aggregated ZnO nanorods in complex “real‐world” conditions: influent water and primary sludge collected from a municipal wastewater system. A complete transformation of isolated ZnO nanorods into ZnS occurs after only 1 hour in influent water, but larger aggregates of the ZnO nanorods transform only partially, with small contributions of ZnS and Zn‐phosphate (Zn3(PO4)2) species, after 3 hours. Transformation of aggregates of the ZnO nanorods toward mixed ZnS, Zn adsorbed to Fe‐oxyhydroxides, and a large contribution of Zn3(PO4)2 phases are observed during their incubation in primary sludge for 3 hours. Discrete, isolated ZnO regions are imaged with unprecedented spatial resolution, revealing their incipient transformation toward Zn3(PO4)2. Passivation by transformation(s) into mixtures of less soluble phases may influence the subsequent bioreactivity of these nanomaterials. This work emphasizes the importance of imaging the nanoscale chemistry of mixtures of nanoparticles in highly complex, heterogeneous semi‐solid matrices for improved prediction of their impacts on treatment processes, and potential environmental toxicity following release.

Journal Keywords: in situ; X‐ray imaging; wastewater treatment plants; XANES X‐ray fluorescence microscopy; ZnO nanomaterials

Subject Areas: Materials, Chemistry

Instruments: I14-Hard X-ray Nanoprobe

Other Facilities: Hard X‐ray Nanoprobe (HXN) Beamline at 3‐ID of the National Synchrotron Light Source II

Added On: 10/05/2021 09:44


Discipline Tags:

Desertification & Pollution Earth Sciences & Environment Chemistry Materials Science Inorganic Chemistry Nanoscience/Nanotechnology

Technical Tags:

Imaging X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)