A simple and convenient method to measure microelectrophoretic mobilities was proposed to determine the zeta potential of nanobubbles generated by ultrasonication. Bubbles in pure water solutions and in aqueous solutions of alkyl polyglycoside (AG) with different alkyl chain lengths and degrees of polymerization in the head group were sonicated with a palladium-coated electrode designed specially by the manufacturer The zeta potentials of bubbles with ordinary cationic and ionic surfactants are consistent with others' previous results. The average size of the bubbles generated by sonication is in the range of 300 to 500 nm. The zeta potentials of bubbles in both pure water and AG solutions at all pH values are negative. As the chain length of AG increases, zeta potentials significantly decrease at high pH. For nonionic AG, a possible charging mechanism based on known mechanisms is suggested to explain the negative charge, known to be unusual. Even with a very high concentration of H+ ions in solution the bubbles are charged negatively because the interface is covered with slightly acidic alcohol groups of AGs. At high pH, the less polar the surfactant, the more negative the charge, since nonpolar surfactant molecules induce the adsorption of OH- ions, rather than H+ ions that prefer hydration by water molecules. (C) 2000 Academic Press.