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Spheres becoming Worms

Filming the Transition of Surfactant Micelles

Schematic illustration of the transformation of spherical/ellipsoidal micelles to worm-like micelles at higher salt concentration

Despite over a century of research in surfactant science, the pathways of morphological transformation in micellar systems are still not well understood. This is mainly due to lack of sufficiently fast methods that capture structural changes underlying such transformations. In the present work an archetypical, simple surfactant system consisting of sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) in aqueous NaCl solutions was investigated using time-resolved small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) combined with stopped-flow rapid mixing. The results show that upon rapid change in salt concentration, “worm-like” micelles are formed by fusion of globular and transient elongated micelles on millisecond time scale by a similar fashion as in a step-like polymerization process.  

The article has been published in the prestigious Angewandte Chemie read the full article 

For more information contact:

Jan skov Pedersen (jsp@chem.au.dk)

Grette Vestergaard Jensen (gvjensen@nbi.ku.dk)