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Self-Propelled Oil Droplets and Their Morphological Change to Giant Vesicles Induced by a Surfactant Solution at Low pH

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journal contribution
posted on 31.08.2016, 00:00 by Taisuke Banno, Yuki Tanaka, Kouichi Asakura, Taro Toyota
Unique dynamics using inanimate molecular assemblies based on soft matter have drawn much attention for demonstrating far-from-equilibrium chemical systems. However, there are no soft matter systems that exhibit a possible pathway linking the self-propelled oil droplets to formation of giant vesicles stimulated by low pH. In this study, we conceived an experimental oil-in-water emulsion system in which flocculated particles composed of a imine-containing oil transformed to spherical oil droplets that self-propelled and, after coming to rest, formed membranous figures. Finally, these figures became giant vesicles. From NMR, pH curves, and surface tension measurements, we determined that this far-from-equilibrium phenomenon was due to the acidic hydrolysis of the oil, which produced a benzaldehyde derivative as an oil component and a primary amine as a surfactant precursor, and the dynamic behavior of the hydrolytic products in the emulsion system. These findings afforded us a potential linkage between mobile droplet-based protocells and vesicle-based protocells stimulated by low pH.