Rapid single-particle chemical imaging of nanoplastics by SRS microscopy

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Scientists find nearly a quarter million tiny nanoplastic particles are shed from liter-sized water bottles into water, which people consume. This measurement of plastic particles is larger and more precise than other studies on bottled water, which have disproportionately studied larger microplastics, which are easier to detect.

Abstract: Micro-nano plastics originating from the prevalent usage of plastics have raised increasingly alarming concerns worldwide. However, there remains a fundamental knowledge gap in nanoplastics because of the lack of effective analytical techniques. This study developed a powerful optical imaging technique for rapid analysis of nanoplastics with unprecedented sensitivity and specificity. As a demonstration, micro-nano plastics in bottled water are analyzed with multidimensional profiling of individual plastic particles. Quantification suggests more than 105 particles in each liter of bottled water, the majority of which are nanoplastics. This study holds the promise to bridge the knowledge gap on plastic pollution at the nano level.

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