Growth of manganese oxide nanostructures alters the layout of adhesion on a carbonate substrate

Chongzheng Na, Scot T. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Nanostructures grown under natural conditions can modify the layout of adhesion on mineral surfaces. Using force-volume microscopy and a silicon-nitride probe, we measure changes in adhesion when a patchy overgrowth of manganese oxide nanostructures forms on the surface of rhodochrosite. For the most part, the observations show that the adhesive force to the nanostructures is dominated by van-der-Waals attraction. Measurements made across an area of the surface provide a frequency distribution of adhesive forces, and the mode of this distribution is 166 pN at pH 5.0, increasing to a maximum of 692 pN at pH 7.1, followed by a decrease to 275 pN atpH9.7. At a few sampling locations over some nanostructures, electrostatic repulsion overtakes van-der-Waals attraction and thus results in negative adhesive forces (i.e., repulsion). Local roughness causes this effect. In comparison to the oxide nanostructures, the exposed rhodochrosite substrate has negligible adhesive force with the probe over the same pH range, suggesting both weak van-der-Waals attraction and weak electrostatic repulsion over this pH range. The quantitative mapping of adhesive force applied more generally to the study of other nanostructures can lead to an improved mechanistic understanding of how nanostructure growth influences contaminant immobilization and bacterial attachment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4967-4972
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009


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