Surfactants at the solid-liquid interface: Measurements at higher concentrations using optical reflectometry

Chris S. Hodges, Alex Lincoln, Simon Biggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Both adsorbing and non-adsorbing surfactant solutions have been investigated by optical reflectivity (OR) on a hydrophilic silica surface over a wide range of solution concentrations. The use of the OR technique is tested at surfactant concentrations well above those usually employed with this approach. To establish a correlation with the OR response expected from these solutions, a simple additive two-part model is introduced comprising an interfacial term and a bulk solution term. The adsorbing system demonstrated the expected regular adsorption isotherm behaviour at lower solution concentrations, and at higher solution concentrations more closely fitted the bulk solution response. When this bulk response was subtracted from the total OR signal, a constant adsorbed amount was found, validating our two-part model approach. Whilst data obtained from alcohol-water mixtures also showed the expected non-adsorbing system response with the signal arising exclusively from the bulk solution, other systems (sucrose solutions and non-adsorbing sodium dodecylsulphate) showed more complex behaviour even after the solution refractive index changes had been subtracted. The implications of these data for probing depletion effects for these systems are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-170
Number of pages7
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


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