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A Colloid Model System for Interfacial Sorption Kinetics

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journal contribution
posted on 24.03.2015, 00:00 authored by Paul F. Salipante, Steven D. Hudson
Particle adsorption to an interface may be a complicated affair, motivating detailed measurements of various processes involved, to discover better understanding of the role of particle characteristics and solution conditions on adsorption coverage and rate. Here we use micron size colloids with a weak interfacial interaction potential as a model system to track particle motion and measure the rates of desorption and adsorption. The colloid-interface interaction strength is tuned to be less than 10 kBT so that it is comparable to many nanoscale systems of interest such as proteins at interfaces. The tuning is accomplished using a combination of depletion, electrostatic, and gravitational forces. The colloids transition between an entropically trapped adsorbed state and a desorbed state through Brownian motion. Observations are made using an light-emitting diode (LED)-based total internal reflection microscopy (TIRM) setup. The observed adsorption and desorption rates are compared to theoretical predictions based on the measured interaction potential and near-wall particle diffusivity. The results demonstrate that diffusion dynamics play a significant role when the barrier energy is small. This experimental system will allow for the future study of more complex dynamics such as nonspherical colloids and collective effects at higher concentrations.