Analysis and fate of single-walled carbon nanotubes and their manufacturing byproducts in estuarine sediments and benthic organisms.

P. Lee Ferguson (PI), G. Thomas Chandler (co-PI)
Funding Agency: 
US Environmental Protection Agency STAR Program

Assessment of the fate, transport, and effects of nanomaterials in environmental systems will require sensitive and selective analytical methods for determining the concentrations and physicochemical characteristics of these materials in complex mixtures.  Such trace analytical methods are generally unavailable for nanomaterials in the environment, as typical environmental analytical chemistry techniques (e.g. GC-MS and HPLC) are often of limited utility for detection and quantitation of nanoparticles in complex mixtures, and method development activity has lagged behind laboratory fate & transport studies.  The objective of work in the Ferguson laboratory is to utilize a sensitive and selective spectroscopy (near-infrared fluorescence, NIRF) in combination with high resolution particle separation methods (e.g. asymmetric field flow fractionation and density gradient ultracentrifugation) to provide both quantitative and qualitative information about single-walled carbon nanotubes in estuarine sediment, water, and deposit-feeding organisms.