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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2016, Article ID 8237029, 10 pages
Research Article

Quantitative Imaging and In Situ Concentration Measurements of Quantum Dot Nanomaterials in Variably Saturated Porous Media

1Tübitak Marmara Research Center, P.K. 21, Gebze, 41470 Kocaeli, Turkey
2Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, 845 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
3Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Laboratory of Hydrogeoscience and Biological Engineering, L.G. Rich Environmental Laboratory, Clemson University, 342 Computer Court, Anderson, SC 29625, USA

Received 30 June 2015; Revised 28 November 2015; Accepted 7 December 2015

Academic Editor: Victor M. Castaño

Copyright © 2016 Burcu Uyuşur et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Knowledge of the fate and transport of nanoparticles in the subsurface environment is limited, as techniques to monitor and visualize the transport and distribution of nanoparticles in porous media and measure their in situ concentrations are lacking. To address these issues, we have developed a light transmission and fluorescence method to visualize and measure in situ concentrations of quantum dot (QD) nanoparticles in variably saturated environments. Calibration cells filled with sand as porous medium and various known water saturation levels and QD concentrations were prepared. By measuring the intensity of the light transmitted through porous media exposed to fluorescent light and by measuring the hue of the light emitted by the QDs under UV light exposure, we obtained simultaneously in situ measurements of water saturation and QD nanoparticle concentrations with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Water saturation was directly proportional to the light intensity. A linear relationship was observed between hue-intensity ratio values and QD concentrations for constant water saturation levels. The advantages and limitations of the light transmission and fluorescence method as well as its implications for visualizing and measuring in situ concentrations of QDs nanoparticles in the subsurface environment are discussed.