A Quantitative Assay for Carbon Nanotube Contaminants

Y. Xu, Z. Zhou, J. Miller, D. Patel
Luna Innovations Inc.,
United States

Keywords: CNT contaminants, assay, quantification, environmental health

Summary:

Carbon nanotube (CNT) based materials have been widely applied in a variety of fields including its use in biomedical R&D, composite, and energy storage. The production of carbon nanotubes worldwide has been increasing dramatically very year projected to reach more than 9,000 metric tons in 2015. A significant portion of these carbon nanotube materials will end up in the environment including water, soil, air etc. It is critical to have a reliable, specific, quantitative assay to monitor CNT contaminants in the environment. As several federal agencies (EPA, NIOSH) started to consider regulations on the exposure limits of CNTs and related materials, sensitive and quantitative detection assays can help not only the regulators better define exposure limits but also help users of CNT materials monitor the potential release of CNT. Luna develops a quantitative optical assay to measure CNTs in variety of environmental samples, and the assay could be used in laboratories or in the field with a compatible hand-held device. The key innovation of this assay is based on highly specific affinity of carbon nanotube with the capture reagents allowing fast detection and quantification down to 1.0 ng/mL. This assay also can be used for many other potential applicable areas besides environmental health monitoring, such as in the protection of occupational health, providing toxicity level information for the nano-toxicology R&D community.