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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fine-Tuning Nanoparticle Packing at Water-Oil Interfaces Using Ionic Strength

  • Author(s): Chai, Y
  • Lukito, A
  • Jiang, Y
  • Ashby, PD
  • Russell, TP
  • et al.

© 2017 American Chemical Society. Nanoparticle-surfactants (NPSs) assembled at water-oil interfaces can significantly lower the interfacial tension and can be used to stabilize liquids. Knowing the formation and assembly and actively tuning the packing of these NPSs is of significant fundamental interest for the interfacial behavior of nanoparticles and of interest for water purification, drug encapsulation, enhanced oil recovery, and innovative energy transduction applications. Here, we demonstrate by means of interfacial tension measurements the high ionic strength helps the adsorption of NPSs to the water-oil interface leading to a denser packing of NPSs at the interface. With the reduction of interfacial area, the phase transitions from a "gas"-like to "liquid" to "solid" states of NPSs in two dimensions are observed. Finally, we provide the first in situ real-space imaging of NPSs at the water-oil interface by atomic force microcopy.

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