Physical Nature of Surfaces (and Interfaces)


BIOEN 7160 (3 credit hours), Fall Semester 2015


Time/Place: MWF 12:55 - 1:45 pm, WEB L114


Instructor:       V. Hlady, Professor of Bioengineering

e-mail:    (preferred means of communication)


Office: 108A BPRB, phone: 581-5042

Office hours: Wednesday after lecture 1:45 - 2:45 pm or by appoint.


Help - Grader: TBA


Prerequisite: A physical chemistry course, or consent of the instructor (here is some remedial material)


Textbook (also on reserve desk):

Butt, Hans-Jurgen, Graf, Karlheinz, and Kappl, Michael, "Physics and Chemistry of Interfaces," 3rd ed. ISBN-10 3527412166, Wiley-VCH, Berlin, 2013 (required, available via HJB) (2nd edition is acceptable).

• Jacob N. Israelachvili, "Intermolecular and Surface Forces," 3rd ed. Academic Press, 2011 (recommended) (abbr: JNI)

• Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Francoise Brochart-Wyart, David Quere."Capillarity and Wetting Phenomena," Spinger 2005 (translation from French, excellent but limited in scope to wetting) (abbr: PGdG)

• Johannes Lyklema, "Fundamentals of Interface and Colloid Science, Vol. 1 - 5." Academic Press, (recommended as reference monographs, but extensive and expensive) (abbr: JLvX)

• Handouts will be available for download from:
• The course notes follow the textbook; with additional material included as indicated.


Grading (%):    

Midterm Tests I and II (in class, tentatively scheduled on Wednesday 10/7 and 11/11, closed books) (20% + 20%),
Final Exam (2 hr., during final exam week 12/16 at 1 pm, room TBA) (30%),

Homeworks (10%)

Surface Science Paper & Presentation (10% + 5%) (link to a typical surface science paper) (here are some suggestions for the paper topics),

Seminar reports (5%) (attendance of minimum 4 seminars in the field of surface and colloid science is required. Seminar substitution rule and some examples).


Schedule of lectures:

Week 1 (8/24) - I. Introduction; Liquid Surfaces

Reading Assignments: Ch. 2 HJB, Capillary rise paper

Handout: Surface curvature, Some solved problems

Week 2 (8/31) - II. Thermodynamics of Interfaces

Reading Assignments: Ch. 3 HJB,


Handout: Remedial thermodynamics

Week 3 (Labor Day, 9/7) - III. The Electric Double Layer

Reading Assignments: Ch. 4 HJB, remedial chapter on electrostatics

Homework #1 solutions

Handout: Hyperbolic Functions

Week 4 (9/14) – IV. Effects at Charged Surfaces, Electrokinetics

Reading Assignments: Ch. 4 HJB

Homework #2

Handout: Extras on defintion of potentials, Some solved problems

Week 5 (9/21) – V. Surface analysis method I: Electrophoresis and streaming potential; Van der Waals Forces;

Reading Assignments: Ch. 4 - 5 HJB

Homework #2 solutions


Week 6 (9/28) – VI. Surface Forces

Reading Assignments: Ch. 5 HJB,

Handout: Gecko adhesion, Excess Polarizabilities

Week 7 (10/5) – VII. MIDTERM I, DLVO Theory and Stability of Nanoparticles in Solution;

Reading Assignments: Ch. 5 HJB, Water on ice paper, Extra points challenge

'Handout: Some solved problems for Week 7.

Solutions to the 1st MIDTERM

Week 8 (10/12) – Fall Break

Reading Assignments: Ch. 1-5 HJB

Week 9 (10/19) – VIII. Wetting and Applications; Partial wetting and surface analysis method II;

Reading Assignments: Ch. 6 HJB

Homework #3

Handout: How to carry out Zisman plot experiment and analysis

Week 10 (10/26) – IX. Real Surfaces; Additional pages; Surface analysis III ESCA (XPS);

Reading Assignments: Ch. 7 HJB

Homework #3 solution


Week 11 (11/2) – X. Adsorption (Langmuir, BET and other models), Preparation for Midterm II

Reading Assignments: Ch. 8 HJB


Week 12 (11/9) – XI. Surface Modifications & Protein Immobilization REVISED; MIDTERM II (13/11),

Reading Assignments: Ch. 9 HJB


Solutions to the 2nd MIDTERM

Week 13 (11/16) – XII. Macromolecular Adsorption, Protein Adsorption, Mass Transport

Reading Assignments: Polymer Adsorption review, Interpreting SPR kinetics,


Week 14 (11/23, Thanksgiving) – XIII. Surfactants, Micelles, Emulsions

Reading Assignments: Ch. 11 HJB

Homework #4


Week 15 (11/30) – XIV. Adhesion, Friction and Lubrication, Surface analysis method IV

Reading Assignments: Ch. 12, 10, 5.8 HJB

Homework #4 solution


Week 16 (12/7) – XV. ; Students' Presentations sessions I and II (term papers due Wednesday, 12/09 in class);

Reading Assignments:


Week 17 (12/16) – FINAL EXAM WEEK, Final exam solutions