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Evaluation of Stable Isotope Tracing for ZnO NanomaterialsNew Constraints from High Precision Isotope Analyses and Modeling.

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journal contribution
posted on 03.04.2012, 00:00 authored by Fiona Larner, Mark Rehkämper
This contribution evaluates two possible routes of stable isotope tracing for ZnO nanomaterials. For this we carried out the first high precision Zn isotope analyses of commercially available ZnO nanomaterials, to investigate whether such materials exhibit isotope fractionations that can be exploited for tracing purposes. These measurements revealed Zn isotopic compositions (of δ66/64Zn = +0.28 to −0.31‰ relative to JMC Lyon Zn) that are indistinguishable from “normal” natural and anthropogenic Zn in environmental samples. Stable isotope tracing therefore requires the application of purpose-made isotopically enriched ZnO nanoparticles. A detailed evaluation identified the most suitable and cost-effective labeling isotopes for different analytical requirements and techniques. It is shown that, using relatively inexpensive 68Zn for labeling, ZnO nanoparticles can be reliably detected in natural samples with a Zn background of 100 μg/g at concentrations as low as about 5 ng/g, if the isotopic tracing analyses are carried out by high precision mass spectrometry. Stable isotope tracing may also be able to differentiate between the uptake by organisms of particulate ZnO and Zn2+ ions from the dissolution of nanoparticles.