Neutron reflection from the liquid-liquid interface: adsorption of hexadecylphosphorylcholine to the hexadecane - Aqueous solution interface

Ali Zarbakhsh, Aránzazu Querol, James Bowers, M. Yaseen, Jian R. Lu, John R. P. Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Adsorption of water-soluble, zwitterionic n-hexadecylphosphorylcholine (C16PC) amphiphiles has been examined at the hexadecane−aqueous solution interface using neutron reflectivity (NR) and interfacial tension measurements. The results of both methods indicate that the limiting area per surfactant molecule at the interface at the critical micelle concentration (cmc) is 40 ± 5 Å2. In the NR measurements, two isotopic contrasts have been employed to determine the adsorption isotherm and to explore the structure of the interfacial region. Single-layer model fitting to both isotopic contrasts was only possible for the single sub-cmc concentration studied, where a film thickness of 60 ± 5 Å was obtained; consistent single-layer model fits to both contrasts for concentrations greater than the cmc were not possible, leading to the requirement of a two-layer model with an overall film thickness close to 60 ± 2 Å. This film thickness is appreciably greater than the fully extended C16PC molecular length and cannot be explained purely in terms of thermal broadening. A further result is that the reflectivity data indicate that, as the C16PC concentration increases, the amount of water on the hexadecane side of the interfacial region increases, in contrast to intuitive expectation. These findings are interpreted by conjecturing a structural model in which a trilayer of C16PC molecules is formed at the interface with the water concentrated in the region occupied by the headgroups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11704–11709
Number of pages6
JournalLangmuir
Volume21
Issue number25
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2005

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