American Chemical Society
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Fe(II) Sorption on Hematite:  New Insights Based on Spectroscopic Measurements

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journal contribution
posted on 2007-01-15, 00:00 authored by Philip Larese-Casanova, Michelle M. Scherer
We collected Mössbauer spectra of 57Fe(II) interacting with 56hematite (α-Fe2O3) over a range of Fe(II) concentrations and pH values to explore whether a sorbed Fe(II) species would form. Several models of Fe(II) sorption (e.g., surface complexation models) assume that stable, sorbed Fe(II) species form on ligand binding sites of Fe(III) oxides and other minerals. Model predictions of changes in both speciation and concentration of sorbed Fe(II) species are often invoked to explain Fe(II) sorption patterns, as well as rates of contaminant reduction and microbial respiration of Fe(III) oxides. Here we demonstrate that, at low Fe(II) concentrations, sorbed Fe(II) species are transient and quickly undergo interfacial electron transfer with structural Fe(III) in hematite. At higher Fe(II) concentrations, however, we observe the formation of a stable, sorbed Fe(II) phase on hematite that we believe to be the first spectroscopic confirmation for a sorbed Fe(II) phase forming on an iron oxide. Low-temperature Mössbauer spectra suggest that the sorbed Fe(II) phase contains varying degrees of Fe(II)−Fe(II) interaction and likely contains a mixture of adsorbed Fe(II) species and surface precipitated Fe(OH)2(s). The transition from Fe(II)−Fe(III) interfacial electron transfer to formation of a stable, sorbed Fe(II) phase coincides with the macroscopically observed change in isotherm slope, as well as the estimated surface site saturation suggesting that the finite capacity for interfacial electron transfer is influenced by surface properties. The spectroscopic demonstration of two distinctly different sorption endpoints, that is an Fe(III) coating formed from electron transfer or a stable, sorbed Fe(II) phase, challenges us to reconsider our traditional interpretations and modeling of Fe(II) sorption behavior (as well as, we would argue, of any other redox active sorbate-sorbent couple).