Your browser has javascript turned off or blocked. This will lead to some parts of our website to not work properly or at all. Turn on javascript for best performance.

The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Per Persson. Photo.

Per Persson


Per Persson. Photo.

Comparison of isoelectric points of single-crystal and polycrystalline α-Al2O3 and α-Fe2O3 surfaces


  • Yingge Wang
  • Per Persson
  • F. Marc Michel
  • Gorden E. Brown

Summary, in English

The surface charging behavior as a function of pH and isoelectric points (IEPs) of single-crystal α-Al2O3 (0001) and (1102) and α-Fe2O3 (0001) was determined by streaming potential measurements using an electrokinetic analyzer. The IEPs of α-Al2O3 (0001) and (11-02)$(1\overline1 02)$ and α-Fe2O3 (0001) were found to be 4.5, 5.1, and 6.5, respectively. These IEP values for oriented single crystals of α-Al2O3 are in good agreement with literature values, whereas the new IEP value for α-Fe2O3 (0001) is significantly lower than four reported values (IEP = 8-8.5) for single-crystal α-Fe2O3 (0001) (Eggleston and Jordan 1998; Zarzycki et al. 2011; Chatman et al. 2013; Lützenkirchen et al. 2013) and significantly higher than one (IEP = 4) recently measured by Lützenkirchen et al. (2015) on a fresh α-Fe2O3 (0001) surface. Most of the single-crystal IEP values measured recently are lower than IEP values reported for polycrystalline α-Al2O3 and α-Fe2O3, which are generally in the pH range of 8 to 10. Calculations of the IEP values based on estimated Ka values of α-Fe2O3 and α-Al2O3 surfaces in contact with water as a function of defect type and concentration suggest that highly reactive surface defect sites (primarily singly coordinated aquo groups) on the Fe-and Al-oxide powders are possibly a major source of the surface charge differences between polycrystalline samples and their oriented single-crystal counterparts studied here. The results of this study provide a better understanding of the surface charging behavior of Fe and Al-oxides, which is essential for predicting complex processes such as metal-ion sorption occurring at mineral/water interfaces.


  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)

Publishing year







American Mineralogist





Document type

Journal article


Mineralogical Society of America


  • Geochemistry


  • defects
  • Fe-and Al-oxides
  • Isoelectric point (IEP)
  • pH point of zero charge (pH)
  • polycrystalline
  • single crystal
  • surface




  • ISSN: 0003-004X