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Structure and Aggregation Number of a Lyotropic Liquid Crystal:  A Fluorescence Quenching and Molecular Dynamics Study

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journal contribution
posted on 06.07.2004, 00:00 by R. Montecinos, H. Ahumada, R. Martínez, F. A. Olea, R. Araya-Maturana, M. P. Aliste, D. P. Tieleman, B. E. Weiss-López
The structure and aggregation number of a discotic lyotropic liquid crystal, prepared from tetradecyltrimethylammonium chloride (TDTMACl)/decanol (DeOH)/NaCl/H2O, have been examined using fluorescence quenching of pyrene by hexadecylpyridinium chloride and molecular dynamics (MD). The fluorescence method gives an aggregation number of 258 ± 25 units (DeOH + TDTMACl). From the MD simulation, a lower limit for the aggregate dimension of 130 units of DeOH + TDTMACl is predicted. A stable oblate aggregate of 240 units was studied in detail. A strong polarization between the ammonium headgroups and chloride ions is observed from the calculated trajectory. DeOH headgroups are located, on average, 0.3 nm more to the interior of the aggregate than the TDTMACl headgroup and contribute to widening the interface by forming H-bonds with water. The radial distribution function of the ammonium headgroup shows that there are 16 water molecules in the first solvation sphere. The diagonal elements of the order parameter tensor of the tail atoms of both surfactants indicate that the interior of the micelle preserves about the same degree of order as at the interface, up to the last three atoms of the aliphatic chain, where the order starts to decrease.