The retention of liquid by columnar nanostructured surfaces during quartz crystal microbalance measurements and the effects of adsorption thereon

Keith B. Rodenhausen, Ryan S. Davis, Derek Sekora, Dan Liang, Alyssa Mock, Rajeev Neupane, Daniel Schmidt, Tino Hofmann, Eva Schubert, Mathias Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Hypothesis: A surface comprising spatially coherent columnar nanostructures is expected to retain intercolumnar liquid during a quartz crystal microbalance measurement due to the surface structure. Part of the liquid retained by the nanostructures may then be displaced by adsorbate. Experiments: Slanted columnar nanostructure thin films were designed to vary in height but remain structurally similar, fabricated by glancing angle deposition, and characterized by generalized ellipsometry. A frequency overtone analysis, introduced here, was applied to analyze quartz crystal microbalance data for the exchange of isotope liquids over the nanostructured surfaces and determine the areal inertial mass of structure-retained liquid. The adsorption of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide onto nanostructures was investigated by simultaneous quartz crystal microbalance and generalized ellipsometry measurements. Findings: The areal inertial mass of structure-retained liquid varies linearly with nanostructure height. The proportionality constant is a function of the surface topography and agrees with the generalized ellipsometry-determined nanostructure film porosity, implying that nearly all intercolumnar liquid is retained. We report that for adsorption processes within porous nanostructured films, the quartz crystal microbalance is sensitive not to the combined areal inertial mass of adsorbate and retained liquid but rather to the density difference between adsorbate and liquid due to the volume exchange within the nanostructure film.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-235
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015



  • Adsorption
  • Generalized ellipsometry
  • Nanostructured surface
  • Porosity
  • Quartz crystal microbalance
  • Solid-liquid interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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