Intraparticle reduction of arsenite (As(III)) by nanoscale zerovalent iron (nZVI) investigated with in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy

Weile Yan, Relja Vasic, Anatoly I. Frenkel, Bruce E. Koel

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While a high efficiency of contaminant removal by nanoscale zerovalent iron (nZVI) has often been reported for several contaminants of great concern, including aqueous arsenic species, the transformations and translocation of contaminants at and within the nanoparticles are not clearly understood. By analysis using in situ time-dependent X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) of the arsenic core level for nZVI in anoxic As(III) solutions, we have observed that As(III) species underwent two stages of transformation upon adsorption at the nZVI surface. The first stage corresponds to breaking of As-O bonds at the particle surface, and the second stage involves further reduction and diffusion of arsenic across the thin oxide layer enclosing the nanoparticles, which results in arsenic forming an intermetallic phase with the Fe(0) core. Extended X-ray absorption fine-structure (EXAFS) data from experiments conducted at different iron/arsenic ratios indicate that the reduced arsenic species tend to be enriched at the surface of the Fe(0) core region and had limited mobility into the interior of the metal core within the experimental time frame (up to 22 h). Therefore, there was an accumulation of partially reduced arsenic at the Fe(0)/oxide interface when a relatively large arsenic content was present in the solid phase. These results illuminate the role of intraparticle diffusion and reduction in affecting the chemical state and spatial distribution of arsenic in nZVI materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7018-7026
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 3 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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