Three-stage multilayer formation kinetics during adsorption of an anionic fluorinated surfactant onto germanium. 1. Concentration effect

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The adsorption of tetraethylammonium perfluorooctylsulfonate (TEA-FOS) from aqueous solution onto hydroxylated germanium is studied using in situ polarized attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). The adsorption is monitored at a series of bulk solution concentrations spanning from well below to above the critical micelle concentration (CMC; 1.0 mM). The kinetics of adsorption is followed by monitoring the intensity of the fluorocarbon bands. The orientation of the fluorocarbon director with respect to the germanium surface is determined by circular dichroism measurements of CF2 stretching bands. At bulk concentrations ranging from 10% of the CMC to at least 500% of the CMC, the adsorption occurs in an unusual sequence of three stages. Initially, rapid adsorption occurs within 200 min, leading to coverage of a monolayer or less. A long period of slow adsorption follows, during which we hypothesize that surfactant molecules form clusters, some of which serve as nuclei for multilayer growth. This stage concludes suddenly with an acceleration in the rate of adsorption, which eventually leads to multilayer formation. Because this is an anionic surfactant adsorbing onto a negatively charged surface at pH 6, the tetraethylammonium ions must mediate the interactions between the surfactant headgroups and the surface. The dichroism measurements show that TEA-FOS is initially oriented randomly or somewhat parallel to the surface, but over time adopts an orientation somewhat normal to the surface. This behavior is consistent with initial adsorption at isolated sites, followed by aggregation into isotropic admicelles, and finally growth into flattened admicelles. The sudden onset of accelerated adsorption can be explained either by autoaccelerating adsorption or nucleation and growth of a hydrophobic multilayer structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-304
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 12 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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