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Wormlike Micelles with Photoresponsive Viscoelastic Behavior Formed by Surface Active Ionic Liquid/Azobenzene Derivative Mixed Solution

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journal contribution
posted on 07.04.2015, 00:00 by Yanhui Bi, Hongtu Wei, Qiongzheng Hu, Wenwen Xu, Yanjun Gong, Li Yu
The UV-light-stimulated self-assembly behavior of a surface active ionic liquid (SAIL), 1-hexadecyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide (C16mimBr), with an azobenzene derivative, sodium azobenzene 4-carboxylate (AzoCOONa), was investigated in aqueous solution. The properties and structures of the aggregates, formed at a concentration ratio equal to 2:1 ([C16mimBr]:[AzoCOONa]), were comprehensively characterized by rheometer and cryogenic transmission electron microscopy. Initially, viscoelastic wormlike micelles with a viscosity of 0.65 Pa·s were constructed in the C16mimBr/AzoCOONa system. Upon irradiation by UV light (365 nm), particularly fascinating is that the wormlike micelles become much longer and more entangled, exhibiting a high viscosity of 6.9 Pa·s. This can be attributed to photoisomerization of the AzoCOONa molecule from trans to cis form. It is the first time that, with exposure to UV or visible light, the aggregate type of the photoresponsive system has remained unchanged, with only a change of internal property parameters. The cation−π interaction prevailing over the hydrophobic interaction and electrostatic interaction between C16mimBr and AzoCOONa molecules is supposed to be responsible for this peculiar phase behavior. The wormlike micelles constructed with the SAIL and photosensitive additive exhibit controllable viscoelastic behavior in the photoresponsive process. In addition, the average contour length of wormlike micelles was found to slightly decrease with the increase of temperature. We expect this system will receive particular attention due to its unique properties and potential applications in drug delivery, biochemistry, and materials science, etc.

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