DNA-surfactant complexes at solid surfaces

K. Eskilsson, C. Leal, B. Lindman, M. Miguel, T. Nylander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this work, we report on the adsorption of complexes between DNA of different molecular weight and a cationic surfactant, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), on hydrophobized and hydrophilic negatively charged silica surfaces as measured by ellipsometry. We will demonstrate how the adsorption is affected by the state of the DNA-surfactant complexes formed in bulk solution. High molecular weight DNA molecules, which condense (transform from coil to globule state) on addition of small amounts of cationic surfactants, do not adsorb on hydrophilic silica prior to phase separation. However, DNA-surfactant complexes formed from low molecular weight DNA were found to adsorb. For these complexes surfactants interact with DNA, without condensation of the DNA. Adsorbed DNA-surfactant complexes can easily be removed from the hydrophilic silica surface when replacing the bulk DNA-surfactant solution with pure salt solution. At the hydrophobic surface the DNA adsorbs without addition of cationic surfactant. However, with addition of a very low amount of surfactant, a rapid increase in adsorbed amount and a simultaneous decrease in adsorbed layer thickness are observed. This compaction of the adsorbed layer is to some extent reversible when replacing the bulk DNA-surfactant solution with pure salt solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1666-1669
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 6 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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