The effects of charge density, pH, and salt concentration on polyelectrolyte adsorption onto the oxidized surface of silicon wafers were studied using stagnation point adsorption reflectometry and quartz crystal microgravimetry. Five different polyelectrolytesscationic polyacrylamides of four charge densities and one cationic dextranswere examined. The adsorption kinetics was characterized using each technique, and the adsorption kinetics observed was in line with the impinging jet theory and the theory for one-dimensional diffusion, respectively. The polyelectrolyte adsorption increased with pH as an effect of the increased silica surface charge.Amaximum in the saturation adsorption for both types of polyelectrolytes was found at 10 mM NaCl concentration. A significant adsorption also occurred at 1MNaCl, which indicated a significant nonionic contribution to the adsorption mechanism. The fraction of solvent in the adsorbed layer was determined to be 70-80% by combining the two analysis techniques. This indicated a loose structure of the adsorbed layer and an extended conformation at the surface, favoring loops and tails. However, considering the solution structure with a hydrodynamic diameter larger than 100 nm for the CPAM and a thickness of the adsorbed layer on the order of 10 nm, the results showed that the adsorption is accompanied by a drastic change in polymer conformation. Furthermore, this conformation change takes place on a time scale far shorter than seconds.
Enarsson, L. E., L. Wågberg