Richmond, Geraldine


Department of Chemistry
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403


We are all familiar with the old adage that “oil and water don’t mix”, but of course, it depends upon the definition of “mix”. Emulsions are an important, special case, where the oil is dispersed as tiny droplets in the aqueous phase-taxonomically called a regular emulsion. Or, where the water is dispersed as tiny droplets throughout the oil phase-a reverse emulsion.  Since both emulsions are thermodynamically unstable, stabilizing them requires an emulsifying agent such as a surfactant.  Recently, there has been interest in surfactant-stabilized emulsions with droplet diameters in the nanoscale range (nanoemulsions) with unique applications in drug delivery, oil recovery, and as nanoreactors to produce materials from polymers to quantum dots. Regular or reverse emulsions with these droplet sizes are called nanoemulsions and little is known about the processes or molecular structures that result in surfactant stabilized nanoemulsions. Even less is known about the structure-function relationship, which is crucial to determine the best surfactant for a given nanoemulsion application. This presentation will discuss our most recent studies that directly measure the molecular structure of interfacial molecules at surfactant stabilized nanoemulsions surfaces.  How these adsorption processes compare with their planar oil-water counterparts will also be discussed.  The studies involve a combination of techniques that include vibrational sum frequency spectroscopy conducted in a scattering and total internal reflection geometry, dynamic light scattering, surface tension and zeta potential measurements.

Biographic Details

Name:  Geraldine (Geri) Richmond
Title: Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry
University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 97403; USA
Phone: 541-346-4635 (US)  Fax: 541-346-5859 (US) E-mail:
Research interests: Understanding the molecular structure and dynamics of interfacial processes that have relevance to environmental remediation, biomolecular assembly, atmospheric chemistry and alternative energy sources.

Professor Richmond will also be giving a public lecture on The Importance of Diversity and Inclusive Leadership in Science and Innovation