Langmuir, Vol.31, No.42, 11409-11418, 2015
Probing Anisotropic Surface Properties of Molybdenite by Direct Force Measurements
Probing anisotropic surface properties of layer-type mineral is fundamentally important in understanding its surface charge and wettability for a variety of applications. In this study, the surface properties of the face and the edge surfaces of natural molybdenite (MoS2) were investigated by direct surface force measurements using atomic force microscope (AFM). The interaction forces between the AFM tip (Si3N4) and face or edge surface of molybdenite were measured in 10 mM NaCl solutions at various pHs. The force profiles were well-fitted with classical DLVO (Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek) theory to determine the surface potentials of the face and the edge surfaces of molybdenite. The surface potentials of both the face and edge surfaces become more negative with increasing pH. At neutral and alkaline conditions, the edge surface exhibits more negative surface potential than the face surface, which is possibly due to molybdate and hydromolybdate ions on the edge surface. The point of zero charge (PZC) of the edge surface was determined around pH 3 while PZC of the face surface was not observed in the range of pH 3-11. The interaction forces between octadecyltrichlorosilane-treated AFM tip (OTS-tip) and face or edge surface of molybdenite were also measured at various pHs to study the wettability of molybdenite surfaces. An attractive force between the OTS-tip and the face surface was detected. The force profiles were well-fitted by considering DLVO forces and additional hydrophobic force. Our results suggest the hydrophobic feature of the face surface of molybdenite. In contrast, no attractive force between the OTS-tip and the edge surface was detected. This is the first study in directly measuring surface charge and wettability of the pristine face and edge surfaces of molybdenite through surface force measurements.