Co-Adsorption of Ga(III) and EDTA at the Water-alpha-FeOOH Interface: Spectroscopic Evidence of the Formation of Ternary Surface Complexes

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Co-adsorption reactions between metal ions and anionic ligands play important roles in controlling availability and transport of chemical species in natural aquatic environments as well as in industrial processes. A molecular understanding of the properties of the surface species formed provides means to model these reactions in a predictive manner and to exploit them in synthetic routes of modified surfaces. In this study, we have used EXAFS and infrared spectroscopies in combination with quantitative adsorption measurements to investigate the coadsorption of Ga(III) and EDTA on alpha-FeOOH (goethite) as a function of pH. The quantitative results showed a 1:1 stoichiometry between adsorbed Ga(III) and EDTA and a maximum in total adsorption around pH 5. EXAFS and infrared data showed that the molecular structures displayed pH-dependent characteristics, and within the studied pH range, these results were concurrent and indicated that Ga(III)EDTA formed ternary surface complexes on goethite. The collective results were fully consistent with the occurrence of both outer sphere Ga(III)EDTA and inner sphere ternary surface complexes of type A (i.e., a surface-Ga(III)-DTA structure), where the latter was favored by increasing pH. This study showed that despite a macroscopic adsorption behavior that was seemingly ligand-like, a substantial fraction of Ga(III) may bond directly to surface hydroxyl groups.


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  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16547-16555
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes

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