In this study, we investigate the role of simulated sunlight on the physicochemical properties, aggregation, and deposition of graphene oxide (GO) in aquatic environments. Results show that light exposure under varied environmental conditions significantly impacts the physicochemical properties and aggregation/deposition behaviors of GO. Photo-transformation has negligible effects on GO surface charge, however, GO aggregation rates increase with irradiation time for direct photo-transformation under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Under anaerobic conditions, photo-reduced GO has a greater tendency to form aggregates than under aerobic conditions. Aggregation of photo-transformed GO is notably influenced by ion valence, with higher aggregation found in the presence of divalent ions versus monovalent, but adding natural organic matter (NOM) reduces it. QCM-D studies show that deposition of GO on surfaces coated with organic matter decreases with increased GO irradiation time, indicating a potential increase in GO mobility due to photo-transformation. General deposition trends on Suwannee River Humic Acid (SRHA)-coated surfaces are control GOaerobically photo-transformed GO > aerobically photo-transformed GO. The release of deposited GO from SRHA-coated surfaces decreases with increased irradiation time, indicating that photo-transformed GO is strongly attached to the NOM-coated surface.
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