Dual Self-Sorting by Cucurbit[8]uril To Transform a Mixed Micelle to Vesicle

A systematic study on the cucurbit[8]­uril (CB[8]) assisted transformation of a mixed micellar system of CTAB and a viologen surfactant to vesicles is depicted. The micelle to vesicle transformation is assisted by a charge transfer complex mediated ternary complexation between the viologen group of the surfactant, CB[8], and 2,6-dihydroxynaphthalene. In the presence of CB[8], both the surfactants formed U-shaped binary inclusion complexes inside the CB[8] cavity, and no selective binding is observed. Upon addition of DHN, CB[8] showed two different self-sorting mechanisms. The U-shaped binary complex with CTAB breaks down, and CB[8] moves toward the viologen headgroup of the other surfactant to form a stable ternary complex. In the case of the viologen surfactant, CB[8] moved toward the headgroup leaving the hydrophobic tail free in order to form the ternary complex. The mechanistic detail of this micelle to vesicle transformation is revealed through methodical studies using 1H and DOSY NMR, ESI-MS, ITC, and other instrumental techniques.