Electrostatic adsorption of hematite nanoparticles on self-assembled monolayer surfaces

  • Boris L. T. LauEmail author
  • Rixiang Huang
  • Andrew S. Madden
Research Paper


Deposition of nanoparticles (NPs) on different environmental surfaces has important implication on their fate and transport in aquatic systems. This study quantitatively and kinetically analyzed the adsorption of hematite (α-Fe2O3) NPs (HNPs) onto self-assembled monolayer modified surfaces using QCM, AFM, and SEM. Experiments were conducted to study the immobilization of two different sizes of HNPs onto gold substrate and surfaces modified with 1-mercapto-11-undecanoic acid and cysteine. It is shown that the extent and rate of HNPs adsorption onto substrate surfaces can be modulated electrostatically. Control over the surface coverage of the adsorbed HNPs has been demonstrated by pH variation. Size-dependent adsorption kinetics was observed, with the 79 nm HNPs adsorbed 2–3 times faster than the 116 nm HNPs.


Solid-water interface Quartz crystal microgravimetry (QCM) Atomic force microscopy (AFM) Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) 



Atomic force microscopy




Dynamic light scattering


Hematite nanoparticles


Mercapto-11-undecanoic acid


Natural organic matter


Quartz crystal microgravimetry


Self-assembled monolayer


Scanning electron microscopy


Transmission electron microscopy


Zeta potential



We are grateful to Benny Freeman for the opportunity and access to the SurPASS electrokinetic analyzer. Andrew S. Madden is grateful for laboratory assistance from Matthew Miller, Andrew Swindle, and Virginia Grace. This research was partially supported by NASA award NNX11AH11G to Andrew S. Madden.

Supplementary material

11051_2013_1873_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.9 mb)
The Supporting Information section contains TEM images of hematite nanoparticles, their particle size distributions as determined by dynamic light scattering, and powder X-ray diffraction patterns. This information is available free of charge via the Internet at


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boris L. T. Lau
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Rixiang Huang
    • 1
  • Andrew S. Madden
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeologyBaylor UniversityWacoUSA
  2. 2.School of Geology and GeophysicsUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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