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Micelle Fission through Surface Instability and Formation of an Interdigitating Stalk

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posted on 31.12.2008, 00:00 by Maria Sammalkorpi, Mikko Karttunen, Mikko Haataja
We report on the first detailed atomic-scale studies of micelle fission in micellar systems consisting of anionic sodium dodecyl sulfate with explicit solvent. We demonstrate a new micelle fission pathway for ionic surfactants and show how micelle fission can be induced by varying the ionic concentration. We argue that this fission pathway proceeds through an initial Rayleigh instability driven by Coulombic interactions and show how the intermediate stages proceed through the formation of a highly interdigitated stalk. This pathway may facilitate easier compartmentalization and functionalization of micelles.