Gel-layer-based sensors are increasingly employed for dynamic trace metal speciation analysis in aquatic media. In DGT (diffusive gradients in a thin film), two different types of polyacrylamide hydrogels, designated as ¿open pore¿ and ¿restricted¿, are commonly used for the diffusive gel layer. While both gels are known to be fully permeable to metal ions and small complexes, colloidal particles with radii from tens to hundreds of nanometers have generally been assumed to be excluded from the gel. Here we show, however, that for dispersions with Pb(II) as the probe metal and monodisperse latex particles as metal-binding agents, relatively large particles do enter the gel to a significant extent. By complementing DGT flux analysis with diffusive equilibration in a thin film accumulation data for the colloidal complex systems, it is demonstrated that with radii up to 130 nm permeation for particles is substantial. The consequences for interpretation of dynamic speciation data furnished by gel-based sensors are discussed.
- stripping chronopotentiometry
- agarose gels