UV light induces Ag nanoparticle formation: roles of natural organic matter, iron, and oxygen Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Nanoparticles occurring in the environment originate either from engineered, synthetically produced nanoparticles, or from naturally produced nanoparticles. The latter can be formed in natural media by light-induced reduction of metal ions in presence of natural organic matter, such as humic substances occurring widely in waters, soils and sediments. There is actually few knowledge on the effect of sunlight and of the nature of organic matter on nanoparticle formation. Therefore, we studied here the photoreduction of silver(I) ion to silver nanoparticles with and without ferrous ion under oxic and anoxic conditions, using humic and fulvic acids as proxies of natural organic matter. UV light-induced formation of silver nanoparticles was monitored up to 60min by measuring surface plasmon resonance in air-saturated mixture and nitrogen-saturated mixture of silver(I) ionorganic matter. Results show that the surface plasmon resonance intensity was about 2.5 times higher in the nitrogen-purged solution mixture than the air-saturated solution. This finding suggests the oxygen-containing species had no major role in forming silver nanoparticles. Therefore, photo-driven formation of silver nanoparticles most likely involved photoactivation of silver(I) ion and natural organic matter complexes. We observed also that both iron(II) and iron(III) ions highly modified the surface plasmon resonance spectra of the particles with broader features. Results also reveal that in the presence of humic acid, the intensity of the surface plasmon resonance peak decreased by at least 50%, while almost no change in the intensity was seen when fulvic acid was used. Overall, our findings demonstrate that the ligandmetal charge transfer process, affected by the nature of organic matter, i.e., humic acid versus fulvic acid, was influenced by redox iron species.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Adegboyega, N. F., Sharma, V. K., Cizmas, L., & Sayes, C. M.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Adegboyega, Nathaniel F||Sharma, Virender K||Cizmas, Leslie||Sayes, Christie M

publication date

  • September 2016