Co-adsorption of peptide amphiphile V6K and conventional surfactants SDS and C12TAB at the solid/water interface

Dharana Jayawardane, Fang Pan, Jian R. Lu, Xiubo Zhao

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Recent research has reported many attractive benefits from short peptide amphiphiles. A practical route for them to enter the real world of applications is through formulation with conventional surfactants. This study reports the co-adsorption of the surfactant-like peptide, V6K, with conventional anionic and cationic surfactants at the solid/water interface. The time-dependant adsorption behaviour was examined using spectroscopic ellipsometry whilst adsorbed layer composition and structural distribution of the components were investigated by neutron reflection with the use of hydrogen/deuterium labelling of the surfactant molecules. Both binary (surfactant/peptide mixtures) and sequential (peptide followed by surfactant) adsorption have been studied. It was found that at the hydrophilic SiO2/water interface, the peptide was able to form a stable, flat, defected bilayer structure however both the structure and adsorbed amount were highly dependent on the initial peptide concentration. This consequently affected surfactant adsorption. In the presence of a pre-adsorbed peptide layer anionic sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) could readily co-adsorb at the interface; however, cationic dodecyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (C12TAB) could not co-adsorb due to the same charge character. However on a trimethoxy octyl silane (C8) coated hydrophobic surface, V6K formed a monolayer, and subsequent exposure to cationic and anionic surfactants both led to some co-adsorption at the interface. In binary surfactant/peptide mixtures, it was found that adsorption was dependent on the molar ratio of the surfactant and peptide. For SDS mixtures below molar unity and concentrations below CMC for C12TAB, V6K was able to dominate adsorption at the interface. Above molar unity, no adsorption was detected for SDS/V6K mixtures. In contrast, C12TAB gradually replaced the peptide and became dominant at the interface. These results thus elucidate the adsorption behaviour of V6K, which was found to dominate interfacial adsorption but its exact adsorbed amount and distribution were affected by interfacial hydrophobicity and interactions with conventional surfactants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7986-7994
    Number of pages9
    JournalSoft Matter
    Issue number40
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2015


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