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Spontaneous Formation of Nanovesicles in Mixtures of Nonionic and Dialkyl Chain Cationic Surfactants Studied by Surface Tension and SANS

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journal contribution
posted on 07.04.2009, 00:00 by I. Grillo, J. Penfold, I. Tucker, F. Cousin
Surface tension and small-angle neutron scattering have been used to characterize the surface properties and the structure of the aggregates formed in the dilute part of the ternary system didodecyldimethyl ammonium bromide, DDAB/tetraethylene glycol monododecyl ether, C12E4/D2O. For surfactant molar ratios, Rn, between 0.3 and 1 (pure DDAB), the surface tension measurements show the existence of two break points at concentrations of around 10−5 and 10−3 mol/L, respectively. The SANS measurements have shown that the first break point corresponds to a critical micellar concentration (cmc) and the second one corresponds to a critical vesicle concentration (cvc). In the intermediate composition range, Rn = 0.3−0.8, very small unilamellar vesicles (nanovesicles) are formed with the inner radius varying between 28 and 85 Å and a bilayer thickness of ∼23 Å. At Rn = 0.8, we observed a transition from small vesicles (V) to large bilamellar or multilamellar vesicles (BLV, MLV) with a relatively large lamellar periodicity of around 1000 Å. In the nonionic-rich region below Rn = 0.3, more classical surface tension behavior was observed, with only one break point corresponding to the onset of formation of small globular micelles.