New knowledge on the dissolution mechanism of nanoparticles


In an article printed in the newspaper Applied materials and interfaces, surface plasmon resonance microscopy has been used to study the dissolution mechanism of nanomaterials at the single-particle level. The double influence of organic substances on the solubility of silver nanoparticles has also been studied.

Study: Single-particle electrochemical imaging provides information on the dissolution of silver nanoparticles at the solution-solid interface. Image Credit: Kateryna Kon/

Applications of silver nanoparticles

Silver (Ag) nanoparticles have many uses ranging from spectroscopy and treatment to medical therapy due to their superb visual, enzymatic and extensive antibacterial abilities. However, increased manufacturing to meet this demand has led to an inevitable increase in the number of silver nanoparticles being released into the aquatic system, which can have negative environmental consequences.

The oxidative breakdown of discharged silver nanoparticles is a fundamental environmental change that determines the form and amount of silver to which sea creatures are susceptible. This transition can affect nanoparticle characteristics and is considered a critical factor in acute contamination and durability of silver nanoparticles.

When you look at the process of oxidative dissolution, for example, you can determine the effects nanomaterials will have on the environment.

Research has already been conducted to investigate the solubility of silver nanoparticles in different situations using various analytical methods. The nanoparticles disintegrate and aggregate simultaneously; thus, these two methods interact to influence the metamorphosis of silver nanoparticles in an aqueous medium.

Effects of aggregation on the dissolution process

In previous research, atomic force microscopy and nanoparticle lithography have been coupled and used to monitor the decomposition of silver nanoparticles in constrained environments. This arrangement offers the advantage of evaluating the dispersion of silver nanoparticles independent of aggregation, but it also has significant drawbacks, including expensive apparatus, high operating expenses, and advanced preparation processes.

More importantly, the organized deposition of silver nanoparticles on the surface differed markedly from real conditions. Whenever silver nanoparticles are subjected to aqueous conditions, their protective film can be dislodged and coated with organic debris. These capping compounds can stop or accelerate aggregation and change the rate at which nanoparticles break down.

Purpose of the current study

In the present research, surface plasmon resonance microscopy was used to study the dissolution of nanomaterials at the single-particle level. Surface plasmon resonance microscopy is an advanced optical technology developed by some organizations that has been used to identify nanoparticles and viruses.

Electronic vibrations create surface plasmons, which move across the surface and form an emission spectrum. This signal deteriorates rapidly towards the contact, making the plate very sensitive to small variations in refractive index.

Hypersensitivity to local refractive index changes on a surface allows surface plasmon resonance microscopy to determine chemical stability and shape mapping. This can help monitor the accumulation and decay of silver nanoparticles.

This method has been used to calculate the solubility classes of silver nanoparticles, characterize the disintegration behaviors of individual nanoparticles, and assess the relationship between aggregation sizes and solubility at the individual particle level.

Study Highlights

The study of nanoparticle dissolution mechanisms is essential to predict their fate in the aquatic system. Nevertheless, the solubility and the aggregation of nanoparticles are linked and can influence the evolution of nanotechnologies.

Since ensemble-based studies fail to isolate links between aggregation and dispersion, data on nanoparticle variation cannot be obtained. It is debatable and uncertain how the aggregation condition influences the solubility of nanoparticles. A sophisticated visual technique has been demonstrated to measure the aggregation and solubility of individual nanoparticles to reveal this mysterious phenomenon.

The decay kinetics of individual and aggregated nanoparticles were assessed through single particle imaging and enumeration capabilities. More interestingly, this method offered a new understanding of the link between aggregation and solubilization at the single particle level that other methodologies could not.

This approach has been shown to be able to be used to solve some possible ecological problems with changing nanoparticles at the single-particle level. Accordingly, this strategy is expected to increase the knowledge of the fate of nanoparticles in aquatic environments, and the scientific method used in this study can serve as a paradigm for future investigations of the metamorphosis of zinc, copper and some other nanoparticles.


Jiang, D., Chen, H.-B., Zhou, X.-L., & Liu, X.-W. (2022). Single-particle electrochemical imaging provides information on the dissolution of silver nanoparticles at the solution-solid interface. Applied materials and interfaces. Available at:

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