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This content will become publicly available on February 22, 2024

Title: Molecular investigation of the multi-phase photochemistry of Fe( iii )–citrate in aqueous solution
Iron (Fe) is ubiquitous in nature and found as Fe II or Fe III in minerals or as dissolved ions Fe 2+ or Fe 3+ in aqueous systems. The interactions of soluble Fe have important implications for fresh water and marine biogeochemical cycles, which have impacts on global terrestrial and atmospheric environments. Upon dissolution of Fe III into natural aquatic systems, organic carboxylic acids efficiently chelate Fe III to form [Fe III –carboxylate] 2+ complexes that undergo a wide range of photochemistry-induced radical reactions. The chemical composition and photochemical transformations of these mixtures are largely unknown, making it challenging to estimate their environmental impact. To investigate the photochemical process of Fe III –carboxylates at the molecular level, we conduct a comprehensive experimental study employing UV-visible spectroscopy, liquid chromatography coupled to photodiode array and high-resolution mass spectrometry detection, and oil immersion flow microscopy. In this study, aqueous solutions of Fe III –citrate were photolyzed under 365 nm light in an experimental setup with an apparent quantum yield of ( φ ) ∼0.02, followed by chemical analyses of reacted mixtures withdrawn at increment time intervals of the experiment. The apparent photochemical reaction kinetics of Fe 3+ –citrates (aq) were expressed as two generalized consecutive reactions of with the experimental rate constants of j 1 ∼ 0.12 min −1 and j 2 ∼ 0.05 min −1 , respectively. Molecular characterization results indicate that R and I consist of both water-soluble organic and Fe–organic species, while P compounds are a mixture of water-soluble and colloidal materials. The latter were identified as Fe–carbonaceous colloids formed at long photolysis times. The carbonaceous content of these colloids was identified as unsaturated organic species with low oxygen content and carbon with a reduced oxidation state, indicative of their plausible radical recombination mechanism under oxygen-deprived conditions typical for the extensively photolyzed mixtures. Based on the molecular characterization results, we discuss the comprehensive reaction mechanism of Fe III –citrate photochemistry and report on the formation of previously unexplored colloidal reaction products, which may contribute to atmospheric and terrestrial light-absorbing materials in aquatic environments.  more » « less
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Journal Name:
Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts
Page Range / eLocation ID:
190 to 213
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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