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Detection and Quantification of Graphene Family Nanomaterials in the Environment



David Goodwin, Adeyemi Adeyele, Li Piin Sung, Kay Ho, Robert Burgess, Elijah Petersen


An increase in production of commercial products containing graphene-family nanomaterials (GFNs) has led to concern over their release into the environment. The fate and potential ecotoxicological effects of GFNs in the environment are currently unclear, partially due to the limited analytical methods for measurement of GFNs in the environment. In this review, the unique properties of GFNs that are useful for their detection and quantification are discussed. The capacity of these techniques to identify and/or quantify GFNs in different environmental matrices (water, soil, sediment, and organisms), after environmental transformations, and after release from a polymer matrix of a product is evaluated. Extraction and strategies to combine methods for more accurate discrimination of GFNs from environmental interferences and from other carbonaceous nanomaterials are recommended. Overall, a comprehensive review of the techniques available to detect and quantify GFNs are systematically presented to inform the state of the science, guide researchers in their selection of the best technique for the system under investigation, and enable further development of GFN metrology in environmental matrices. Since the available techniques are somewhat limited, more work is required to distinguish GFNs from other carbonaceous materials and improve the detection limits of GFNs at more environmentally relevant concentrations.
Environmental Science & Technology


Goodwin, D. , Adeyele, A. , Sung, L. , Ho, K. , Burgess, R. and Petersen, E. (2018), Detection and Quantification of Graphene Family Nanomaterials in the Environment, Environmental Science & Technology, [online], (Accessed July 19, 2024)


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Created March 4, 2018, Updated October 12, 2021