Adsorption of polyelectrolyte modified graphene to silica surfaces: monolayers and multilayers


Notley, Shannon M.


Exfoliated graphene particles stabilised by the cationic polyelectrolyte polyethyleneimine (PEI) were used in conjunction with an anionic polyelectrolyte, poly(acrylic acid), to construct multilayers using the layer-by-layer technique on a silica substrate. In the first adsorption step, the surface excess of the cationic graphene was dependent on the overall charge on the nanoparticle which in turn can be tuned through modifying solution pH as PEI has weakly ionisable charged amine groups. The adsorbed amount onto the silica surface increased as the solution pH increased. Subsequently, a layer of PAA was adsorbed on top of the cationic graphene through electrostatic interaction. The multilayer could be assembled through this alternate deposition, with the influence of solution conditions investigated. The pH of the adsorbing solutions was the chief determinant of the overall adsorbed amounts, with more mass added at the elevated pH of 9 in comparison with pH 4. Atomic force microscopy confirmed that the graphene particles were adsorbed to the silica interface and that the surface coverage of the disc-like nanoparticles was complete after the deposition of five graphene-polyelectrolyte bi-layers. Furthermore, the graphene nanoparticles themselves could be modified through the consecutive addition or the oppositely charged polymers. A multilayered assembly of negatively charged graphene sheets modified with a bi-layer of PEI and PAA was also deposited on a silica surface with adsorbed PEI.

Publication year


Publication type

Journal article


Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol. 375, no. 1 (Jun 2012), pp. 35-40






Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc.