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Direct measurements of surface potential and charge of a single mineral nanoparticle in water by particle-impact nanoelectrochemistry


The proposed project will establish a method for direct measurement of surface potential of single mineral nanoparticles in an aqueous solution as they collide with a stationary microelectrode. The particle-impact approach described in the proposal is a revolutionary approach for in situ analysis of mineral/water interfacial chemistry and a significant step forward from the state of the art of the colloid and interfacial science especially in the field of geochemistry.
Hydr(oxo) functional groups at metal oxide surface serve as the reaction centers for electrostatic or hydrogen-bonded adsorption of ions that are of particular importance in combatting environmental pollution and for energy security issues. Surface potential and charge are the most prominent intrinsic properties describing surface activity; however, neither parameter is a measurable by today’s interfacial analysis techniques. Instead, various surface complexation models are used to extrapolate experimental results of the mineral surface's proton uptake/release behavior to compute these parameters. Current approach suffers from low precision and accuracy due to number of uncertainties raised from both experimental and morphological aspects such as synthesis techniques and particle coagulation. Hence, there is a strong need for direct measurements of a single nanoparticle.
The applicant (Ph.D. in 2008) has years of experience conducting research in electrochemistry and mineral/water interfacial chemistry in multi-national and cultural environment, and the host is one of the pioneers of the particle-impact approach. During the fellowship, He will be provided with training for conducting experiment using the particle-impact approach and effective student supervision and project management as well as exposure to the industry sector. This training program marks the final step towards his research maturity and a professorship.

Call for proposal

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Wellington Square University Offices
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Gill Wells (Ms.)
EU contribution
€ 231 283,20