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Langmuir. 2012 Jan 24;28(3):1663-7. doi: 10.1021/la202954c. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Forced desorption of nanoparticles from an oil-water interface.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 220 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6393, United States.


While nanoparticle adsorption to fluid interfaces has been studied from a fundamental standpoint and exploited in application, the reverse process, that is, desorption and disassembly, remains relatively unexplored. Here we demonstrate the forced desorption of gold nanoparticles capped with amphiphilic ligands from an oil-water interface. A monolayer of nanoparticles is allowed to spontaneously form by adsorption from an aqueous suspension onto a drop of oil and is subsequently compressed by decreasing the drop volume. The surface pressure is monitored by pendant drop tensiometry throughout the process. Upon compression, the nanoparticles are mechanically forced out of the interface into the aqueous phase. An optical method is developed to measure the nanoparticle area density in situ. We show that desorption occurs at a coverage that corresponds to close packing of the ligand-capped particles, suggesting that ligand-induced repulsion plays a crucial role in this process.

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