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Title: Electrostatic Interactions Govern “Odd/Even” Effects in Water-Induced Gemini Surfactant Self-Assembly

Gemini surfactants comprise two single-tailed surfactants connected by a linker at or near the hydrophilic headgroup. They display a variety of water concentration-dependent lyotropic liquid crystal (LLC) morphologies that are sensitive to surfactant molecular structure, and na- ture of the headgroups and counterions. Recently, an interesting dependence of the aqueous phase behavior on the length of the linker has been discovered; odd-numbered linker length surfactants exhibit characteristically different phase diagrams than even-numbered linker sur- factants. In this work, we investigate this “odd/even effect” using computer simulations, focusing on experimentally studied gemini dicarboxylates with Na + counterions, 7 non-terminal carbon atoms in the tails, and either 3, 4, 5, or 6 carbon atoms in the linker (denoted Na-73, Na-74, Na-75, and Na-76 respectively). We find that the relative electrostatic repulsion be- tween headgroups in the different morphologies is correlated with qualitative features of the experimental phase diagrams, predicting destabilization of hexagonal phases as the cylinders pack close together at low water content. Significant differences in the relative headgroup ori- entations of Na-74 and Na-76 compared to Na-73 and Na-75 surfactants lead to differences in linker-linker packing, and long-range headgroup/headgroup electrostatic repulsion, which affects the delicate electrostatic balance between hexagonal and gyroidmore » phases. Finally, much of the fundamental insight presented in this work is enabled by the ability to computationally construct and analyze metastable phases that are not observable in experiments.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States). Dept. of Chemistry and Theoretical Chemistry Inst.
  2. Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (United States). Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
DOE-UWMadison-46938-6th product
Journal ID: ISSN 1520-6106; DE-FG02-13ER46938
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0010328; TG-CHE090065; CHE-0840494
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Physical Chemistry. B, Condensed Matter, Materials, Surfaces, Interfaces and Biophysical Chemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 121; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1520-6106
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; Self-assembly; lyotropic; liquid crystal; gemini surfactant
OSTI Identifier: