Chemists Observed Chemical Reactions of Individual Silver Nanoparticles

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Chemists observed chemical reactions of individual silver nanoparticles, according to a study published on July 30, 2018.

This study was conducted by the chemists at Ruhr-University Bochum. A new method was developed by them to observe these chemical reactions. These nanoparticles are used in medicine, food, and sports items, as they have an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. Although experiments were conducted in well-defined laboratory conditions, results obtained in this study is different and sometimes contradictory. In the previous researches, as many particles were investigated at the same time, the effects of variations could not be recorded.

Therefore, the research team came up with this new technology that enables individual silver particles to be investigated in a natural environment. This method would require a combination of electrochemical and spectroscopic methods. Researchers observed individual nanoparticles as visible and colored pixels using optical and hyperspectral dark-field microscopy. Moreover, they used the color change to understand what was happening in an electrochemical experiment in real time.

Kristina Tschulik, a member of the Cluster of Excellence Ruhr Explores Solvation said, “This extends the lifespan of the nanoparticles to an extreme extent and their breakdown is slowed down in an unexpectedly drastic manner. This is equally important for bodies of water and for living beings because this mechanism could cause the heavy metal silver to accumulate locally, which can be toxic for many organisms.”

Furthermore, the research team is planning to improve its technology for analyzing individual nanoparticles, so as to better understand the ageing mechanisms of such particles. Therefore, researchers need to gather more information regarding the biocompatibility of silver particles and the lifespan and ageing of catalytically active nanoparticles in the near future.

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