Photochemical transformation of aqueous C clusters in sunlight

Wen Che Hou, Chad T. Jafvert

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115 Citations (Scopus)


C 60 is emerging in a variety of potential applications; however, its environmental fate remains largely unknown. Photochemical transformation may be an important fate process of C 60 in the aquatic environment due to its strong light absorption within the solar spectrum. Inthisstudy, the photochemical transformation of aqueous C 60 clusters (nC 60) in sunlight (West Lafayette, IN, 86° 55′W, 40° 26′ N) and in lamp light (300-400 nm wavelengths) was investigated. When exposed to light, the brown to yellow color of nC 60 was lost gradually, and the cluster size decreased as the irradiation time increased. TOC analysis on the water phase of centrifuged samples indicated that water soluble products formed and that with continued light exposure, these intermediates eventually mineralized, volatilized, or were converted to other products not quantified by TOC after centrifugation and filtration. In sunlight at ∼1 mg/L C 60, the decay rate of C 60 in small clusters (diameter = 150 nm) was greater than for C 60 in larger (500 nm) clusters, with half-lives of 19 and 41 h, respectively. The presence of fulvic acid, changes in pH, and the preparation method of the clusters had minimal effects on the phototransformation rate. Deoxygenated samples resulted in negligible loss after 17 h of lamp exposure, indicating O 2 played a role in the phototransformation mechanism. These findings suggested that release of nC 60 into surface waters will result in photochemical production of currently unknown products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-367
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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