Sulfidation processes of PVP-coated silver nanoparticles in aqueous solution: impact on dissolution rate.Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Jun 15; 45(12):5260-6.ES
Despite the increasing use of silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) in nanotechnology and their toxicity to invertebrates, the transformations and fate of Ag-NPs in the environment are poorly understood. This work focuses on the sulfidation processes of PVP-coated Ag-NPs, one of the most likely corrosion phenomena that may happen in the environment. The sulfur to Ag-NPs ratio was varied in order to control the extent of Ag-NPs transformation to silver sulfide (Ag₂S). A combination of synchrotron-based X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure spectroscopy shows the increasing formation of Ag₂S with an increasing sulfur to Ag-NPs ratio. TEM observations show that Ag₂S forms nanobridges between the Ag-NPs leading to chain-like structures. In addition, sulfidation strongly affects surface properties of the Ag-NPs in terms of surface charge and dissolution rate. Both may affect the reactivity, transport, and toxicity of Ag-NPs in soils. In particular, the decrease of dissolution rate as a function of sulfide exposure may strongly limit Ag-NPs toxicity since released Ag⁺ ions are known to be a major factor in the toxicity of Ag-NPs.