Charge Stabilization in Nonpolar Solvents
Original Entry by Michelle Borkin, AP225 Fall 2009
M. F. Hsu, E. R. Dufresne, and D. A. Weitz, Langmuir 21, 4881-4887 (2005).
This paper investigates the use of surfactants to control charges is nonpolar solvents (<math>\epsilon \approx 2</math> versus for an aqueous solution <math>\epsilon \approx 80</math>) where the electrostatic charge barrier is much greater than kT. Understanding nonpolar solvents and colloid interactions are important for industrial and commercial applications such as electrophoretic ink or the stabilization of soot particles in oil. Surfactants play the key role in creating in such solutions the charge-stabilizing aggregates. The research presented in this paper focuses on nanometer sized reverse micelles in nonpolar solvents and investigates the electrokinetics and thermodynamic properties to explain how the micelles control charge. As opposed to simple salt ions, these large reverse micelles have low ionization energies and charge surfaces by stabilizing counterions. They find very strong surface potentials (2.0-4.4 kT) and Debye screening lengths (0.2-1.4 <math>\mu m</math>) that strongly depend on the concentration of reverse micelles in the system.