Surfactant films on solid surfaces have attracted much attention because of their scientific interest and applications, such as surface treatment agent, or for micro- or nano-scale templates for microfluidic devices. In this study, anionic surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) solutions with various charged inorganic salts was spread on a glass substrate and dried to form an SDS thin film. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was employed to observe the micro-structure of the SDS thin film. The effects of inorganic salts on the morphology of the SDS film were observed and discussed. The results of experiments demonstrated that pure SDS film formed patterns of long, parallel, highly-ordered stripes. The existence of the inorganic salt disturbed the structure of the SDS film due to the interaction between the cationic ion and the anionic head groups of SDS. The divalent ion has greater electrostatic interaction with anionic head groups than that of the monovalent ion, and causes a gross change in the morphology of the SDS film. The height of the SDS bilayer measured was consistent with the theoretical value, and the addition of the large-sized monovalent ion would lead to lowering the height of the adsorbed structures.
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