Emulsion of aqueous-based nonspherical droplets in aqueous solutions by single-chain surfactants: Templated assembly by nonamphiphilic lyotropic liquid crystals in Water

Nisha Varghese, Gauri S. Shetye, Debjyoti Bandyopadhyay, Nemal Gobalasingham, Jinam Seo, Jo Han Wang, Barbara Theiler, Yan Yeung Luk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Single-chain surfactants usually emulsify and stabilize oily substances into droplets in an aqueous solution. Here, we report a coassembly system, in which single types of anionic or non-ionic surfactants emulsify a class of water-soluble nonamphiphilic organic salts with fused aromatic rings in aqueous solutions. The nonamphiphilic organic salts are in turn promoted to form droplets of water-based liquid crystals (chromonic liquid crystals) encapsulated by single-chain surfactants. The droplets, stabilized against coalescence by encapsulated in a layer (or layers) of single chain surfactants, are of both nonspherical tactoid (elongated ellipsoid with pointy ends) and spherical shapes. The tactoids have an average long axis of ∼9 μm and a short axis of ∼3.5 μm with the liquid crystal aligning parallel to the droplet surface. The spherical droplets are 5-10 μm in diameter and have the liquid crystal aligning perpendicular to the droplet surface and a point defect in the center. Cationic and zwitterionic surfactants studied in this work did not promote the organic salt to form droplets. These results illustrate the complex interplay of self-association and thermodynamic incompatibility of molecules in water, which can cause new assembly behavior, including potential formation of vesicles or other assemblies, from surfactants that usually form only micelles. These unprecedented tactoidal shaped droplets also provide potential for the fabrication of new soft organic microcapsules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10797-10807
Number of pages11
JournalLangmuir
Volume28
Issue number29
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 24 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry

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