Evaluation of Interfacial pH Using Surface Forces Apparatus Fluorescence Spectroscopy

Motohiro Kasuya, Yuka Sano, Masataka Kawashima, Kazue Kurihara

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The fluorescence spectrum measurement of a fluorescence pH probe, C. SNARF-4F, was performed for monitoring the interfacial pH of aqueous electrolytes between mica or silica surfaces while varying the surface separation (D) using surface force apparatus (SFA) fluorescence spectroscopy. The pH of the aqueous CsCl between mica exponentially decreased with decreasing D. The order of the decay lengths of the interfacial pH obtained from the exponential fitting (L) at various electrolyte concentrations was L1mM > L0.1mM ≈ L0.4mM > L10mM. For studying the mechanisms of these changes, we performed the electric double layer (EDL) model calculation of the interfacial pH based on the surface potentials, which were evaluated from the EDL forces between the substrates in aqueous electrolytes using the same SFA. The calculated pH value for the 0.1 mM aqueous electrolyte corresponded to the values obtained from fluorescence spectroscopy, indicating that the interfacial pH was attributed to only the general EDL effect. On the other hand, the measured pH value for the higher concentrations of aqueous electrolytes (0.4-10 mM) decreased in the longer D ranges than the values calculated from the model, indicating that there was an additional factor affecting the interfacial pH for those concentrations. We also studied the effects of the cationic species of the electrolytes (Cs+, Na+, and Li+) and of the silica substrate on the interfacial pH. The systematic studies of the interfacial pH revealed that it depended on all three factors studied here, that is, the electrolyte concentration, electrolyte species, and the substrates. The results also suggested that the interfacial pH was not only due to the simple EDL theory but could also be affected by an additional factor due to the ion adsorption at the interface and chemical states of the substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5073-5080
Number of pages8
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 27


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