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Self-Assembly Structures of Nonionic Surfactants at Graphite/Solution Interfaces

Summary: Self-Assembly Structures of Nonionic Surfactants at
Graphite/Solution Interfaces
Heather N. Patrick,, Gregory G. Warr,*,, Srinivas Manne,,| and
Ilhan A. Aksay
School of Chemistry, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia, Princeton Materials Institute
and Department of Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544,
and Rhone-Poulenc/CNRS Complex Fluids Laboratory, Cranbury, New Jersey 08512
Received March 6, 1997. In Final Form: May 13, 1997X
The interfacial self-assembly structures of a series of poly(oxyethylene) n-dodecyl ether (C12En) nonionic
surfactants on graphite has been imaged by atomic force microscopy using only the steric stabilization force
as the contrast mechanism. Aggregates are arranged in parallel stripes perpendicular to the underlying
graphite symmetry axes for C12E5-C12E10. These are interpreted as hemicylindrical micelles, consistent
with previous studies of ionic surfactants adsorbed on graphite. C12E23 shows a featureless layer and
C12E3 forms an anchored lamellar phase growing normal to the graphite surface. We relate the interfacial
structures to those formed in bulk solution and show that the initially adsorbed molecules template the
interfacial aggregates, modifying their self-assembly behavior.
The self-assembly of amphiphilic molecules in bulk
solution is often described using the surfactant packing
parameter, v/a0lc.1 This quantity conveniently captures


Source: Aksay, Ilhan A. - Department of Chemical Engineering, Princeton University


Collections: Materials Science