Colloid and Polymer Science

, Volume 294, Issue 3, pp 483–490 | Cite as

Adsorption of gemini surfactants at the air-water surface

  • Yunfei He
  • Anniina Salonen
  • Amelie Lecchi
  • Michèle Veber
  • Dominique LangevinEmail author
Invited Article


We have studied the behavior of a gemini surfactant, the double chained dodecyl ammonium bromide or 12-2-12, at the surface of aqueous solutions and at room temperature. We have measured the kinetics of adsorption and the equilibrium surface tension. The surfactant has been obtained through a new synthesis method, which has the advantages of being simpler than previous ones and resulting in a product with good purity after the first crystallization. In the absence of salt, 12-2-12 behaves like other charged surfactants. The adsorption is initially diffusion limited, but as adsorption proceeds, and the surface concentration increases, the surface potential reaches large values (of around 200 mV) slowing down considerably the adsorption process. The observations are in line with existing models. The sensitivity of the gemini surfactants to salt is greater than that of single-chain surfactants, owing to their peculiar molecular structure. For single-chain nonionic surfactants or ionic surfactants, adsorption can be described by diffusion limited models. The behavior of 12-2-12 in salt solutions is very different. The very early stages of adsorption are diffusion limited, but very quickly, the behavior changes and strong deviations are observed. Such a behavior could be due to a desorption barrier, the origin of which remains to be elucidated.


Gemini surfactant Adsorption at air-water surface Surfactant monolayers 



We are grateful to Sascha Heitkam for his help with the resolution of the Ward and Tordai equation. Yunfei He thanks Prof. Honglai Liu, Prof. Yazhuo Shang and the China Scholarship Council for a 1-year exchange fellowship during her thesis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yunfei He
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anniina Salonen
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Amelie Lecchi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Michèle Veber
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dominique Langevin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physique des SolidesCNRSBâtimentFrance
  2. 2.Université Paris SaclayBâtimentFrance
  3. 3.Université Paris SudBâtimentFrance

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