The electrical double layer on gold probed by electrokinetic and surface force measurements

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Gold surfaces, obtained by vacuum deposition of 15-nm gold films on glass and silica wafers, were studied in aqueous solutions by streaming potential measurements and colloidal-probe AFM force measurements. In the force measurements both a bare and a gold-coated silica particle (6 m in diameter) have been used as colloidal probes. From the streaming potential measurements we determined the zeta-potential of the gold surface, while from the force measurements the diffuse double-layer potential d was obtained by fitting the data to the DLVO theory or to the nonlinear Poisson–Boltzmann equation. Measured interactions were found to be entirely due to overlap of electric double layers with no indication of attractive Van der Waals forces. Results of both types of measurements are in good agreement. The double layer potential strongly depends on the pH, probably as a result of the presence of oxide species on the gold surface. Insight in the double layer potential of polarizable interfaces such as the gold/electrolyte solution interface is the first step for understanding the effect of externally applied potentials on the adsorption behavior of charged species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Atomic force microscope
  • Colloidal probe
  • Electrical double layer
  • Gold
  • Silica
  • Streaming potential
  • Surface forces
  • Van der Waals forces


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