Experimental Depth Profiles of Surfactants, Ions, and Solvent at the Angstrom Scale: Studies of Cationic and Anionic Surfactants and Their Salting Out

Xianyuan Zhao, Gilbert M. Nathanson, Gunther Andersson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Neutral impact ion scattering spectroscopy (NICISS) is used to measure the depth profiles of ionic surfactants, counterions, and solvent molecules on the angstrom scale. The chosen surfactants are 0.010 m tetrahexylammonium bromide (THA+/Br-) and 0.0050 m sodium dodecyl sulfate (Na+/DS-) in the absence and presence of 0.30 m NaBr in liquid glycerol. NICISS determines the depth profiles of the elements C, O, Na, S, and Br through the loss in energy of 5 keV He atoms that travel into and out of the liquid, which is then converted into depth. In the absence of NaBr, we find that THA+ and its Br- counterion segregate together because of charge attraction, forming a narrow double layer that is 10 Å wide and 150 times more concentrated than in the bulk. With the addition of NaBr, THA+ is "salted out" to the surface, increasing the interfacial Br- concentration by 3-fold and spreading the anions over a ∼30 Å depth. Added NaBr similarly increases the interfacial concentration of DS- ions and broadens their positions. Conversely, the dissolved Br- ions are significantly depleted over a depth of 0-40 Å from the surface because of charge repulsion from DS- ions within the interfacial region. These different interfacial Br- propensities correlate with previously measured gas-liquid reactivities: gaseous Cl2 readily reacts with Br- ions in the presence of THA+ but drops 70-fold in the presence of DS-, demonstrating that surfactant headgroup charge controls the reactivity of Br- through changes in its depth profile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2218-2229
Number of pages12
JournalThe journal of physical chemistry. B
Volume124
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Depth Profiles
  • Angstrom Scale
  • Cationic and Anionic Surfactants
  • Their Salting Out
  • Surfactants, Ions and Solvent

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