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Detection of single walled carbon nanotubes by monitoring embedded metals
Link to Journal Abstract
Detection of single walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) was performed using single particle-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (spICPMS). Due to the ambiguities inherent in detecting CNTs by carbon analysis, particularly in complex environmental matrices, this study focuses on using trace catalytic metals intercalated in the CNT structure as proxies for the nanotubes. Using a suite of commercially available CNTs, the monoisotopic elements Co and Y were found to be the most effective for differentiation of particulate pulses from background. The small, variable, amount of trace metal in each CNT makes separation from instrumental background challenging; multiple cut-offs for determining CNT number concentration were investigated to maximize the number of CNTs detected and minimize the number of false positives in the blanks. In simple solutions the number of CNT pulses detected increased linearly with concentration in the ng L−1 range. However, analysis of split samples by both spICPMS and Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) showed the quantification of particle number concentration by spICPMS to be several orders of magnitude lower than by NTA. We postulate that this is a consequence of metal content and/or size, caused by the presence of many CNTs that do not contain enough metal to be above the instrument detection limit, resulting in undercounting CNTs by spICPMS. However, since the detection of CNTs at low ng L−1 concentrations is not possible by other techniques, spICPMS is still a more sensitive technique for detecting the presence of CNTs in environmental, materials, or biological applications. To highlight the potential of spICPMS in environmental studies the release of CNTs from polymer nanocomposites into solution was monitored, showcasing the technique's ability to detect changes in released CNT concentrations as a function of CNT loading.
Due to the ambiguities inherent in detecting single walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) by carbon analysis, particularly in complex environmental matrices, this study focuses on using trace catalytic metals intercalated in the CNT structure as proxies for the nanotubes.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article
Exposure Or Hazard Target
Method Of Study
Material Analysis and Applications
Risk Exposure Group
Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 15(1): 204-213 (January 2013)
Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts
Reed RB, Goodwin DG, Marsh KL, Capracotta SS, Higgins CP, Fairbrother DH, Ranville JF
Last updated on April 16, 2013
This work is supported in part by the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Initiative of the National Science Foundation
under NSF Award Number EEC-0118007.
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