Irradiated gels were dissolved in 1,2-propanediol (chaotropic agent) to facilitate drop casting onto TEM grids and heated to 80°C for 15 min. This mixture was centrifuged at 4000 rpm for 10 min. The supernatant was removed and was further dispersed in MilliQ water. This solution was further cast onto TEM grids. The samples were dried in air overnight and visualized using a CM200-FEG instrument operating at 200 kV in the LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Sciences at ASU. Elemental analysis was carried out to determine the composition of the nanoparticles formed. The diameter of nanoparticles formed was quantified by analyzing TEM images. Briefly, the perimeter of ~150 nanoparticles was individually measured using ImageJ software (U.S. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA; https://imagej.nih.gov/ij/; 1997–2018). This perimeter was divided by π to obtain the diameter of the nanoparticles assuming a circular geometry. In case of the 0-Gy condition, a total of ~100 nanoparticles were used because of the relative homogeneity observed in the nanoparticle population.

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