Sorption of selenium(IV) and selenium(VI) onto synthetic pyrite (FeS 2): Spectroscopic and microscopic analyses

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Pyrite was hydrothermally synthesized and used to remove Se(IV) and Se(VI) selectively from solution. Surface analyses of pyrite before and after contact with Se(IV) and Se(VI) were conducted using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). All solid samples were acquired by allowing 3.1. mmol/L of Se(IV) or Se(VI) to react with 1. g/L of pyrite for 1, 15, or 30. days. The XPS spectra were fitted using the XPSPEAK program that applies a Gaussian Lorentzian function. The fitted spectra indicate that Se(IV) more strongly reacts with the surface-bound S than with the surface-bound Fe of pyrite. However, there is no apparent evidence of surface reaction with Se(VI). Specifically, fitted XPS spectra showed the presence of sulfide and tetrathionate on the surface, indicating that sulfur (S22-) at the surface of pyrite can be both oxidized and reduced after contact with Se(IV). This occurs via surface disproportionation, possibly resulting in the formation of surface precipitates. Evidence for the formation of precipitates was seen in SEM and AFM images that showed rod-like particles and a phase image with higher voltage. In contrast, there were no important changes in the pyrite after contact with Se(VI) over a period of 30. days.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-504
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2012



  • Precipitation
  • Pyrite
  • Selenate
  • Selenite
  • Sorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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