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Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Studies of Surfactant Adsorption to a Hydrophobic Interface

Volume 62, Number 2 (Feb. 2008) Page 149-156

Olson, Lydia G.; Harris, Joel M.

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy is used to investigate the kinetics of adsorption of the cationic surfactant cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) to hydrophobic surfaces from water. A hydrophobic surface, with stable and reproducible SERS activity, is produced by binding gold colloids to an amine-terminated glass slide and then modifying this surface with octadecyltrimethoxysilane. In situ SERS-detected adsorption of CPC from aqueous solution is found to follow a Frumkin isotherm. Interactions between the charged head groups could be detected in frequency shifts in the symmetric ring breathing mode, consistent with an interfacial surfactant environment similar to a CPC micelle. Rates of surfactant adsorption were determined by time-resolved SERS measurements and were found to be much slower than the diffusion-controlled limit, indicating a significant kinetic barrier to adsorption. Desorption kinetics were heterogeneous, consistent with the spectroscopic results. Alkylsilane-modified gold colloids were shown to be useful substrates for investigating amphiphile adsorption from aqueous solutions to hydrophobic surfaces, where the adsorption kinetics could also be used to determine analyte concentrations in solution.