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Force Mapping and Characterization of Surfactant Adsorbed on Flat and Patterned Surfaces using the Atomic Force Microscope

Joshua Hamon (University of Oklahoma)

In the past, if AFM was used to study surfactants it was almost exclusively to investigate adsorbed surfactant morphology through soft contact imaging. Yet, due to the fragile nature of surfactant films it can be very difficult to obtain images of surfactant on anything but atomically smooth surfaces, and even then, the image sizes are typically limited to 500 nm or less, and the information collected was restricted to the x-y. To collect information in the z-direction, force curves have been used to make conclusions regarding the adsorbed film packing, rigidity, and thickness. However, even though their use has increased, the significant features of the force curves have yet to be thoroughly investigated and explained. In this talk, the validity of the significant features of AFM force curves collected on surfactant films will be discussed, as well as two new uses for AFM force mapping, one of which provides surfactant related information to be collected over large areas (up to 50 μm) on flat surfaces and the other of which allows studying surfactant on patterned nanostructures.

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