Year of Publication


Document Type





Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Stephen E. Rankin


This dissertation addresses two topics associated with the assembly of surfactants at the solid-liquid interface for adsorption and materials synthesis. The first is the adsorption of an anionic fluorinated surfactant, tetraethylammonium perfluorooctylsulfonate (TEA-FOS), at the solid/liquid interface. Attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy is used to study the adsorption kinetics and average orientation of surfactants at the hydroxylated germanium surface. Atomic force microscopy provides complementary images of the adsorbed layer structure on mica. The adsorption follows unusual three-stage kinetics in which the rate of adsorption starts fast, slows as the surface becomes crowded, and then (surprisingly) accelerates due to nucleation of a heterogeneous multilayer structure. These fast-slow-fast three stage adsorption kinetics are observed for a wide range of concentrations at pH 6, and the rates of the three stages are modulated by pH and salt by tuning electrostatic interactions among surfactants, counterions, and the surface. The results suggest that tetraethylammonium mediates interactions between surfactants and with negatively charged surfaces. The dichroism measurements and AFM are consistent with a mechanism in which TEA-FOS first forms an incomplete layer with chains oriented randomly or somewhat parallel to the surface, followed by formation of flattened multilayer clusters with the chains oriented somewhat normal to the substrate. The second topic is the sol-gel synthesis of mesoporous silica materials using dual surfactant templates. Studies of templating with mixed cetyltrimethylammonium bromide and octyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside surfactants shows that the ternary phase diagram of surfactants in water can be used to predict mesoporous materials structure, and that vapor-phase ammonia treatments can either stabilize the structure or induce swelling by the Maillard reaction. Studies of sol-gel reaction-induced precipitation with demixed hydrocarbon and fluorocarbon cationic surfactant micelles show a wide variety of pore structures. A number of synthesis parameters are adjusted to tune the pore structure, for instance to adjust the size and populations of bimodal mesopores. Selective swelling of the two surfactants by liphophilic and fluorophilic solvents is observed. Finally, proteinaccessible hollow spherical silica particles with mesoporous shells are reported. The methods for engineering mesoporous materials reported here have potential applications in adsorption, controlled drug delivery and for catalysis.