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The importance of lead analysis in environmental matrices becomes increasingly relevant due to the anthropogenic spread of toxic species in nature. Alongside the existing analytical methods to detect lead in a liquid environment, we propose a new dry approach for lead detection and measurement based on its capture from a liquid solution by a solid sponge and subsequent quantification based on X-ray analyses. The detection method exploits the relationship between the electronic density of the solid sponge, which depends on the captured lead, and the critical angle for total reflection of the X-rays. For this purpose, gig-lox TiO2 layers, grown by modified sputtering physical deposition, were implemented for their branched multi-porosity spongy structure that is ideal for capturing lead atoms or other metallic ionic species in a liquid environment. The gig-lox TiO2 layers grown on glass substrates were soaked into aqueous solutions containing different concentrations of Pb, dried after soaking, and finally probed through X-ray reflectivity analyses. It has been found that lead atoms are chemisorbed onto the many available surfaces within the gig-lox TiO2 sponge by establishing stable oxygen bonding. The infiltration of lead into the structure causes an increase in the overall electronic density of the layer and, thus, an increment of its critical angle. Based on the established linear relationship between the amount of lead adsorbed and the augmented critical angle, a standardized quantitative procedure to detect Pb is proposed. The method can be, in principle, applied to other capturing spongy oxides and toxic species.
Publication date: 
18 Apr 2023

Valentina Arena, Emanuele Smecca, Salvatore Valastro, Corrado Bongiorno, Giuseppe Fisicaro, Ioannis Deretzis, Carlo Spampinato, Giovanni Mannino, Sandro Dattilo, Andrea Antonino Scamporrino, Sabrina Carola Carroccio, Antonino La Magna, Alessandra Alberti

Biblio References: 
Volume: 13 Issue: 8 Pages: 1397