The first step in layer-by-layer deposition: Electrostatics and/or non-electrostatics?

J. Lyklema, L. Deschênes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


A critical discussion is presented on the properties and prerequisites of adsorbed polyelectrolytes that have to function as substrates for further layer-by-layer deposition. The central theme is discriminating between the roles of electrostatic and non-electrostatic interactions. In order to emphasize this feature we refrain from discussing practical problems sometimes incurred in polyelectrolyte adsorption like freezing-in of non-equilibrium situations, patchwise attachment, unclear chemistry and only consider solid substrates. Although it is in principle ambiguous to discriminate between coulombic and non-coulombic or “chemical” interactions, it will be shown that, as a rule, non-coulombic contributions to the interactions cannot be neglected. They are responsible for the familiar overcharging. For obtaining more insight, it is recommended to consider electrometric techniques such as electrokinetics, conductometry and potentiometry, in combination with other analytical techniques applied to well-defined systems, for which various parameters can be modulated in a systematic way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-148
JournalAdvances in Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • polyelectrolyte multilayer films
  • segmental adsorption energies
  • electrical double-layer
  • cationic polyelectrolyte
  • weak polyelectrolytes
  • charged surfaces
  • polymer desorption
  • anionic surfactant
  • aqueous-solutions
  • adsorbed layers


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