Control of carboxylic acid and ester groups on chromium (VI) binding to functionalized silica/water interfaces studied by second harmonic generation

Hind A. Al-Abadleh, Amanda L. Mifflin, Paul A. Bertin, Son Binh T. Nguyen, Franz M. Geiger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Resonantly enhanced surface second harmonic generation (SHG) measurements carried out at pH 7 and room temperature were performed to study how surface-bound carboxylic acid and methyl ester functional groups control the interaction of chromate ions with fused silica/water interfaces. These functional groups were chosen because of their high abundance in humic and fulvic acids and related biopolymers commonly found in soils. They were anchored to the silica surface using organosilane chemistry to avoid competing complexation processes in the aqueous solution as well as competitive adsorption of the organic compounds and chromate. The SHG experiments were carried out at room temperature and pH 7 while using environmentally representative chromate concentrations ranging from 1 ×10 -6 to 2 × 10 -4 M. Chromate is found to bind to the acid- and ester-functionalized silica/water interfaces in a reversible fashion. In contrast to the plain silica/ water interface, chromate binding studies performed on the functionalized silica/water interfaces show S-shaped adsorption isotherms that can be modeled using the Frumkin-Fowler-Guggenheim (FFG) model. This model predicts a coverage-dependent binding constant of K ads exp(gθ). Values for g are found to be 3.2(2), 2.1(2), and 1.3(2) for the carboxylic acid-, the ester-, and the nonfunctionalized silica/water interfaces, respectively, and are consistent with stabilizing lateral adsorbate-adsorbate interactions among the Cr(VI) species adsorbed to the functionalized surfaces. The FFG model allows for the parametrization of the solid-liquid partition coefficient and chromate retardation factors in silica-rich soil particles whose surfaces contain organic adlayers rich in carboxylic acid and methyl ester groups. The straightforward model presented here predicts that chromate retardation increases by up to 200% when carboxylic acid functional groups are present at the silica/water interface. Increases up to 50% are predicted for methyl ester-containing organic adlayers, and the retardation factor remains effectively near unity for the plain silica/water interface (no siloxanes present).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9691-9702
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 19 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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