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Character of Localization and Microenvironment of Solvatochromic Reichardt’s Betaine Dye in Sodium n‑Dodecyl Sulfate and Cetyltrimethylammonium Bromide Micelles: Molecular Dynamics Simulation Study

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journal contribution
posted on 19.07.2017, 00:00 by Vladimir S. Farafonov, Alexander V. Lebed, Nikolay O. Mchedlov-Petrossyan
The problem of using surfactant micellar aqueous solutions as reaction media centers on estimating the polarity of the micellar pseudophase. The most popular approach is the utilization of solvatochromic dyes. Among the last, the strongest ones are the dipolar pyridinium N-phenolate dyes. The complication of such approach, however, consists in the nonuniform character of the environment of the indicator fixed in the micellar pseudophase. The aim of this study is to reveal the character of localization and orientation of the standard solvatochromic pyridinium N-phenolate dye, 4-(2,4,6-triphenylpyridinium-1-yl)-2,6-diphenylphenolate, the so-called Reichardt’s dye, within the micellar pseudophase of an anionic (sodium n-dodecyl sulfate, SDS) and cationic (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, CTAB) surfactants using MD simulations. The locus and hydration of the dye are found to be dependent on the surfactant nature. New approaches are proposed to quantitatively describe the state of the dye within the pseudophase. The results confirm the experimental data, which indicate the higher polarity of the interfacial region in the case of the SDS micelles. Because this dye is also used as an interfacial acid–base probe, the corresponding study is simultaneously performed for its protonated, i.e., cationic form. The neutral and protonated forms of the dye are found to be localized and hydrated in a different way in both SDS and CTAB micelles. This should be taken into account when using the Reichardt’s dye as an acid–base indicator for estimating the electrical surface potential of micelles. The presented approach may be recommended to shed light upon the locus of other solvatochromic and acid–base indicators in micelles and micellar-like aggregates.

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