Adsorption of mixtures of poly(amidoamine) dendrimers and sodium dodecyl sulfate at the air-water interface

Marianna Yanez Arteta, Richard A. Campbell, Tommy Nylander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We relate the adsorption from mixtures of well-defined poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers of generations 4 and 8 with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) at the air-water interface to the bulk solution properties. The anionic surfactant shows strong attractive interactions with the cationic dendrimers at pH 7, and electrophoretic mobility measurements indicate that the association is primarily driven by electrostatic interactions. Optical density measurements highlight the lack of colloidal stability of the formed bulk aggregates at compositions close to charge neutrality, the time scale of which is dependent on the dendrimer generation. Adsorption at the air-water interface was followed from samples immediately after mixing using a combination of surface tension, neutron reflectometry, and ellipsometry measurements. In the phase separation region for dendrimers of generation 4, we observed high surface tension corresponding to a depleted surfactant solution but only when the aggregates carried an excess of surfactant. Interestingly, these depleted adsorption layers contained spontaneously adsorbed macroscopic aggregates, and these embedded particles do not rearrange to spread monomeric material at the interface. These findings are discussed in relation to the interfacial properties of mixtures involving dendrimers of generation 8 as well as polydisperse linear and hyperbranched polyelectrolytes where there is polyelectrolyte bound to a surfactant monolayer. The results presented here demonstrate the capability of dendrimers to sequester anionic surfactants in a controllable manner, with potential applications as demulsification and antifoaming agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5817-5828
Number of pages12
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2014


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