Effect of Gravity on Colloidal Deposition Studied by Atomic Force Microscopy. Academic Article uri icon


  • Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to study the effect of gravitational forces on the deposition of submicrometer colloidal particles onto solid surfaces to test the usual assumption that the contribution of gravity to the behavior of particles with diameters <1 &mgr;m is negligible. The effects of both particle size and density were examined using polystyrene sulfate latex, silica, and colloidal gold particles of several sizes ranging from 10 nm to 1 &mgr;m. The results show that significant differences are observed in the deposition of colloidal particles onto horizontal and vertical surfaces, under identical suspension conditions and exposure times, showing that gravitational forces can have a considerable effect. This effect was quantified by analysis of the AFM images. The experimental results are compared to calculations of the expected coverage and particle surface concentration assuming diffusion-limited adsorption and deposition by sedimentation. Gravity can be negligible for low-density particles with diameters considerably smaller than 1 &mgr;m. However, if the density of the colloidal particles is high, as in the case of colloidal gold, gravity can become a significant driving force for particle transport to the surface, even for particles with diameters much smaller than 100 nm. Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

published proceedings

  • J Colloid Interface Sci

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Dokou, E., Barteau, M. A., Wagner, N. J., & Lenhoff, A. M.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Dokou, Eleni||Barteau, Mark A||Wagner, Norman J||Lenhoff, Abraham M

publication date

  • August 2001