surfactant (rus. поверхностно-активное вещество otherwise ПАВ) — a substance that can reduce the surface tension by adsorbing at the interface between liquid and another (liquid, solid, gas) phase.


Surfactants are organic amphiphilic compounds. Hydrophilic groups provide solubility in water, hydrophobic ones promote solubility in nonpolar media. Thus, amphiphilic molecules at the interface in the adsorbing layer are oriented in the most effective manner: hydrophilic groups in the direction of the polar (water) phase, hydrophobic in the direction of the non-polar (gas and hydrocarbon) phase.

Amphiphilic surfactant compounds are widely used in methods of creating nanoparticles (dispersion, emulsification), film (Langmuir-Blodgett method, self-assembled monolayers), different molecular structures (liposomes, micelles), etc.


  • Eremin Vadim V.
  • Saranin Alexander A.


  1. Surface-active substances // Chemical encyclopedia (in Russian). V. 3. — Moscow: The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1990. P. 585–589.

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