Chemistry Publications

Effect of nanoparticle size on the near-surface pH-distribution in aqueous and carbonate buffered solutions

Thomas Stepan
Yolanda S. Hedberg, Western University
Lila Laundry-Mottiar
Lisa Tété
Elena Romanovskaia
Herbert Danninger
Michael Auinger


An analytical solution for the effect of particle size on the current density and near-surface ion distribu- tion around spherical nanoparticles is presented in this work. With the long-term aim to support pre- dictions on corrosion reactions in the human body, the spherical diffusion equation was solved for a set of differential equations and algebraic relations for pure unbuffered and carbonate buffered solutions. It was shown that current densities increase significantly with a decrease in particle size, suggesting this will lead to an increased dissolution rate. Near-surface ion distributions show the formation of a steep pH-gradient near the nanoparticle surface (μm) which is further enhanced in the presence of a car- bonate buffer (μm). Results suggest that nanoparticles in pure electrolytes not only dissolve faster than bigger particles but that local pH-gradients may influence interactions with the biological environ- ment, which should be considered in future studies.