Environmental Chemistry Environmental Chemistry Society
Environmental problems - Chemical approaches
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Characterisation of structural and surface speciation of representative commercially available cerium oxide nanoparticles

M. Baalousha A D , P. Le Coustumer B , I. Jones C and J. R. Lead A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 2TT, UK.

B Université de Bordeaux, B.18 av Facultés, F-33405 Talence, France.

C School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 2TT, UK.

D Corresponding author. Email: m.a.baalousha@bham.ac.uk

Environmental Chemistry 7(4) 377-385 https://doi.org/10.1071/EN10003
Submitted: 16 January 2010  Accepted: 21 July 2010   Published: 20 August 2010

Environmental context. Manufactured nanoparticles, increasingly used in a wide range of products, can be released into the natural environment where they might pose a risk to environmental and human health. The nanoparticle characteristics that induce toxic effects, however, are not yet well-known. Understanding the toxicity and the fate and behaviour of nanoparticles in the environment requires precise characterisation of their properties at the nanoscale and the individual particle level.

Abstract. The shape, morphology, crystallography, and oxidation state of commercially available cerium oxide nanoparticles as compared with bulk particles were studied by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy coupled to electron energy loss spectroscopy, along with scanning electron microscopy. Nano and bulk particles have the same crystalline structure and morphology as the fluorite-type structure with a mainly octahedral shape enclosed by eight {111} facets, or a truncated octahedral shape enclosed by eight {111} facets and two {002} facets, or eight {111} and two {002} and four {220} facets. Some defects, including twin boundaries and steps and kinks, were observed. Bulk ceria particles contain mainly CeIV, whereas ceria nanoparticles contain a large fraction of CeIII, which decreases after interaction with humic acid and biological media. These properties are likely to play an essential role in the environmental and toxicological behaviour of nanoparticles.

Additional keywords: crystallinity, morphology, oxidation state, structure, surface defects.


Acknowledgement

This work was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NE/D004942/1) and supported by the Facility for Environmental Nanoscience Analysis and Characterisation (FENAC).


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