Ion and Particle Size Effects on the Surface Reactivity of Anatase Nanoparticle–Aqueous Electrolyte Interfaces: Experimental, Density Functional Theory, and Surface Complexation Modeling Studies
Ridley, Moira K. (TTU)
Machesky, Michael L.
Kubicki, James D.
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At the nanoscale, particle size affects the surface reactivity of anatase–water interfaces. Here, we investigate the effect of electrolyte media and particle size on the primary charging behavior of anatase nanoparticles. Macroscopic experiments, potentiometric titrations, were used to quantitatively evaluate surface charge of a suite of monodisperse nanometer sized (4, 20, and 40 nm) anatase samples in five aqueous electrolyte solutions. The electrolyte media included alkaline chloride solutions (LiCl, NaCl, KCl, and RCl) and Na-Trifluoromethanesulfonate (NaTr). Titrations were completed at 25 °C, as a function of pH (3–11) and ionic strength (from 0.005 to 0.3 m). At the molecular scale, density functional theory (DFT) simulations were used to evaluate the most stable cation surface species on the predominant (101) anatase surface. In all electrolyte media, primary charging increased with increasing particle size. At high ionic strength, the development of negative surface charge followed reverse lyotropic behavior: charge density increased in the order RbCl < KCl < NaCl < LiCl. Positive surface charge was greater in NaCl than in NaTr media. From the DFT simulations, all cations formed inner-sphere surface species, but the most stable coordination geometry varied. The specific inner-sphere adsorption geometries are dependent on the ionic radius. The experimental data were described using surface complexation modeling (SCM), constrained by the DFT results. The SCM used the charge distribution (CD) and multisite (MUSIC) models, with a two-layer (inner- and outer-Helmholtz planes) description of the electric double layer. Subtle charging differences between the smallest and larger anatase particles were the same in each electrolyte media. These results further our understanding of solid–aqueous solution interface reactivity of nanoparticles.