ENM supply, transformation and metrology for experimental studies


Lead: I. Lynch, University of Birmingham

WP3 provides systematically varied sets of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) to the other WPs, along with characterisation and speciation data under relevant exposure conditions.  Two phases of ENMs are envisaged: The first "research and training set" will be used to:

  1. support the experimental and analytical studies underpinning the compartment model development, and
  2. determine the appropriate transformation products in the different environmental "reactors" (water, sediment, sludge, soil etc.), as the basis for the Functional Fate Group ENMs.

The second "validation set" of ENMs comprises materials associated with a series of nano–enabled industry products that are included within the case studies, as well as 5–6 ENM being produced at 1,000 tonne capacity via partner PROM through FP7 pilot project Shyman.  NanoFASE will provide the environmental fate data for these materials to complement hazard assessment ongoing in related projects such as NanoMILE and GuideNano.

Innovation lies in the development of routes to produce Functional Fate Group ENMs directly in scaled-up quantities, in developing dual/simultaneous tracking strategies for ENM core and coating allowing each component to be tracked during exposure and transformation, and in addressing the critical need to improve and adapt existing approaches (sampling, pre-treatment and analytics) to allow improved ENM characterisation in complex environmental media (sediment, soil, whole organisms).  WP3 is taking characterisation methods that are at TRL4 or 5 for aqueous media but only at TRL3 in more complex media such as sediment or soil, and develop them to TRL4 within the project, through collaborative developments with the relevant instrument developers / manufacturers, including Malvern and Perkin Elmer.  Similarly, methods to characterise ENM interactions with biomolecules in biofluids (e.g. blood) are being adapted for assessment of ENM interactions with natural organic matter, secreted polyscacharides and other environmental macromolecules.

Methods being developed and optimised (including improvements to sampling, pre-treatment and analytics) to allow ENM characterisation in complex environmental media include:

  • Nanoparticle tracking Analysis (NTA)
  • Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS)
  • Differential Centrifugal Sedimentation (DCS)
  • Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) / Laser ablation-ICP-MS (LA-ICP-MS) / Single particle ICP-MS (SP-ICP-MS)
  • Time-Of-Flight-Secondary-Ion-MS (TOF-SIMS)
  • Field Flow Fractionation (FFF)
  • Light, Dark field, Raman and Confocal microscopies, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)
  • Electron microscopy (SEM, TEM, ESEM) with X-ray absorption spectroscopy (EDX)
  • Extended X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS)
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) including for surface area analysis (in liquid phase)
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS)
  • X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES)
  • Quartz crystal Microbalance (QCM)