Research highlights: elucidating the role of complex interactions affecting nanoparticle deposition
In this issue, we highlight recent works that advance our understanding of physicochemical mechanisms governing nanoparticle (NP) deposition in the environment. In one study, the transport of citrate-stabilized silver NPs in an unsaturated porous medium was assessed experimentally, which provided data to assess the contributions of NP attachment at the air–water interface with a modified transport model. Another study applied cryogenic transmission electron microscopy and small angle X-ray scattering to examine the effect that ferrihydrite NP aggregation state (density and structure) has on deposition behavior. Finally, we highlight a study that investigated the influence of excess polymeric constituents on the deposition of polymer-coated quantum dots and incorporated this effect in a multi-component site-blocking model. Overall, these studies highlight three distinct mechanisms of NP attachment beyond simple scenarios of saturated conditions, stable NPs, and single-constituent systems. These studies also point to new directions for improving the predictive capability of transport models.