Voltammetric characterization of metal sulfide particles and nanoparticles in model solutions and natural waters.


Voltammetric scans in sulfidic natural waters often reveal reduction peaks in the range -0.9 to -1.35 V versus Ag/AgCl. These peaks have been attributed to iron sulfide complexes or clusters. However, sols containing CuS nanoparticles now also are known to produce reduction peaks in this range. Here we investigate the voltammetric behavior of two additional metal sulfides at the Hg electrode in 0.55 M NaCl + 0.03 M NaHCO3 electrolyte, pH=8.5. We show that Pb and Hg sulfides, either as suspended powders or as precipitated nanoparticles, also yield cathodic peaks between -0.9 and -1.35 V, similar to peaks obtained with CuS and FeS. For precipitated nanoparticles, the position and shape of these reduction peaks change with ageing. Freshly formed nanoparticles produce less negative reduction peaks than aged nanoparticles. Peaks from aged nanoparticles often consist of two or more superimposed reduction peaks. When all other experimental parameters are held constant, the amount of nanoparticle analyte accumulated on the electrode increases with the amount of ageing (< or = 1 h). Addition of EDTA or acidification followed by purging can be used to distinguish PbS nanoparticles and Fe sulfide clusters from CuS and HgS nanoparticles or from colloidal S. This test was applied to interpret -0.9 to -1.35 V reduction peaks observed in two meromictic lakes. In conjunction with other evidence, this test suggests that FeS clusters are present in one case whereas colloidal S is present in the other. Interpreting -0.9 to -1.35 V voltammetric peaks observed in sulfidic natural waters requires caution, but these peaks are potentially rich sources of information about trace metal speciation.

Cite this paper

@article{BuraNakic2007VoltammetricCO, title={Voltammetric characterization of metal sulfide particles and nanoparticles in model solutions and natural waters.}, author={Elvira Bura-Nakic and Damir Krznari{\'c} and Darija Domazet Jura{\vs}in and George R. Helz and Irena Ciglene{\vc}ki}, journal={Analytica chimica acta}, year={2007}, volume={594 1}, pages={44-51} }