Mobility of electrostatically and sterically stabilized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) in saturated porous media

Annika Sidelmann Fjordbøge*, Basil Uthuppu, Mogens Havsteen Jakobsen, Søren Vang Fischer, Mette Martina Broholm

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    The stability of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) stabilized electrostatically with citrate or (electro)sterically by commercially available amphiphilic block copolymers (PVP-VA or PVA-COOH) was studied under various physicochemical conditions. Subsequently, the mobility of the AuNPs in porous media (sand) was investigated in column studies under environmental relevant physicochemical conditions. Electrostatically stabilized AuNPs were unstable under most physicochemical conditions due to the compression of the electrical double layer. Consequently, aggregation and deposition rapidly immobilized the AuNPs. Sterically stabilized AuNPs showed significantly less sensitivity towards changes in the physicochemical conditions with high stability, high mobility with negligible retardation, and particle deposition rate coefficients ranging an order of magnitude (1.5 × 10-3 to 1.5 × 10-2 min-1) depending on the type and amount of stabilizer, and thereby the surface coverage and attachment affinity. The transport of sterically stabilized AuNPs is facilitated by reversible deposition in shallow energy minima with continuous reentrainment and blocking of available attachment sites by deposited AuNPs. The stability and mobility of NPs in the environment will thereby be highly dependent on the specific stabilizing agent and variations in the coverage on the NP. Under the given experimental conditions, transport distances of the most mobile AuNPs of up to 20 m is expected. Due to their size-specific plasmonic properties, the easily detectable AuNPs are proposed as potential model or tracer particles for studying transport of various stabilized NPs under environmental conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number29460–29472
    JournalEnvironmental science and pollution research international
    Issue number28
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Amphiphilic block copolymers
    • Citrate
    • Gold nanoparticles
    • Mobility
    • Model nanoparticles
    • Stability


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