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Environmental science & technology

Probing Photosensitization by Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes.


PMID 26186124

Abstract

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) photosensitize the production of reactive oxygen species that may damage organisms by biomembrane oxidation or mediate environmental transformations of CNTs. Photosensitization by derivatized carbon nanotubes from various synthetic methods, and thus with different intrinsic characteristics (e.g., diameter and electronic properties), has been investigated under environmentally relevant aquatic conditions. We used the CNT-sensitized photoisomerization of sorbic acid ((2E,4E)-hexa-2,4-dienoic acid) and singlet oxygen formation to quantify the triplet states ((3)CNT*) formed upon irradiation of selected single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The CNTs used in our studies were derivatized by carboxyl groups to facilitate their dispersion in water. Results indicate that high-defect-density (thus well-stabilized), small-diameter, and semiconducting-rich CNTs have higher-measured excited triplet state formation and therefore singlet oxygen ((1)O2) yield. Derivatized SWCNTs were significantly more photoreactive than derivatized MWCNTs. Moreover, addition of sodium chloride resulted in increased aggregation and small increases in (1)O2 production of CNTs. The most photoreactive CNTs exhibited comparable photoreactivity (in terms of (3)CNT* formation and (1)O2 yield) to reference natural organic matter (NOM) under sunlight irradiation with the same mass-based concentration. Selected reference NOM could therefore be useful in evaluating environmental photoreactivity or intended antibacterial applications of CNTs.

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