Raman tweezers for tire and road wear micro- and nanoparticles analysis published in Environmental Science: Nano

Raman Tweezers are used to detect tires and road wear particles in water. We analyze samples collected from a brake test platform, highlighting the presence of car tires and brake particles debris with sub-micrometric dimensions. (Featuring work from Dr Pietro G. Gucciardi, Prof Giovanni Volpe, and Dr Fabienne Lagarde).
Raman tweezers for tire and road wear micro- and nanoparticles analysis

R. GillibertA. MagazzùA. CallegariD. Bronte-CirizaA. FotiM. G. DonatoO. M. MaragòG. VolpeM. L. de La ChapelleF. Lagarde and P. G. Gucciardi.

Environmental Science: Nano (2022) doi: 10.1039/D1EN00553G


Tire and road wear particles (TRWP) are non-exhaust particulate matter generated by road transport means during the mechanical abrasion of tires, brakes and roads. TRWP accumulate on the roadsides and are transported into the aquatic ecosystem during stormwater runoffs. Due to their size (sub-millimetric) and rubber content (elastomers), TRWP are considered microplastics (MPs). While the amount of the MPs polluting the water ecosystem with sizes from ∼5 μm to more than 100 μm is known, the fraction of smaller particles is unknown due to the technological gap in the detection and analysis of <5 μm MPs. Here we show that Raman tweezers, a combination of optical tweezers and Raman spectroscopy, can be used to trap and chemically analyze individual TRWPs in a liquid environment, down to the sub-micrometric scale. Using tire particles mechanically grinded from aged car tires in water solutions, we show that it is possible to optically trap individual sub-micron particles, in a so-called 2D trapping configuration, and acquire their Raman spectrum in few tens of seconds. The analysis is then extended to samples collected from a brake test platform, where we highlight the presence of sub-micrometric agglomerates of rubber and brake debris, thanks to the presence of additional spectral features other than carbon. Our results show the potential of Raman tweezers in environmental pollution analysis and highlight the formation of nanosized TRWP during wear.

Laura Natali and Jesús Domínguez participate in the Ämnets dag at the University of Gothenburg

Presentation of Laura Natali and Jesús Domínguez at the Ämnets dag. Image by L. Natali and J. Domínguez.
On Tuesday 2 November 2021 the Ämnets dag took place at the university of Gothenburg.

At the Ämnets dag, different high-school teachers of physics and science were given the chance to attend different workshops dealing with lines of research inside the Physics department. Laura Natali and Jesus Manuel Antunez Dominguez joined the initiative and prepared an introductory class to simulations modelling active matter.

The workshop addressed the basic aspects of active matter and some examples of its relevant applications nowadays. Overall, the focus of the workshop was to bring closer some of the main characteristics of active matter through interactive simulations that give a qualitative idea of active behaviour and the effect of different parameters on it.

Stay tuned for more activities like this!

Jesus Manuel Antunez Dominguez's presentation at Ämnets dag.
Jesus Manuel Antunez Dominguez’s presentation at Ämnets dag. Image by L. Natali.
Laura Natali's presentation at Ämnets dag.
Laura Natali’s presentation at Ämnets dag. Image by L. Natali.