Abstract — Nanoparticle transport and retention within porous media is treated by conceptualizing the porous media as a series of independent collectors (e.g., Colloid Filtration Theory). This conceptualization assumes that flow phenomena near grain-grain contacts, such as immobile zones (areas of low flow), exert a negligible influence on nanoparticle transport and assumes that retention and release of particles depends only on surface chemistry. This study investigated the impact of immobile zones on nanoparticle transport and retention by employing synchrotron X-ray computed microtomography (SXCMT) to examine pore-scale silver nanoparticle distributions during transport through three sand columns: uniform iron oxide, uniform quartz, and well-graded quartz. Extended tailing was observed during the elution phase of all experiments suggesting that hydraulic retention in immobile zones, not detachment from grains, was the source of tailing. A numerical simulation of fluid flow through an SXCMT data set predicted the presence of immobile zones near grain-grain contacts. SXCMT-determined silver nanoparticle concentrations observed that significantly lower nanoparticle concentrations existed near grain-grain contacts throughout the duration of all experiments. In addition, the SXCMT-determined pore-scale concentration gradients were found to be independent of surface chemistry and grain size distribution, suggesting that immobile zones limit the diffusive transport of nanoparticles toward the collectors. These results suggest that the well-known overprediction of nanoparticle retention by traditional CFT may be due to ignoring the influences of grain-grain contacts and immobile zones. As such, accurate prediction of nanoparticle transport requires consideration of immobile zones and their influence on both hydraulic and surface retention.