Liquid worm-like and proto-micelles: Water solubilization in amphiphile-oil solutions

Baofu Qiao*, Kenneth C. Littrell, Ross J. Ellis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Noncovalent interactions determine the structure-property relationship of materials. Self-assembly originating from weak noncovalent interactions represents a broad variety of solution-based transformations spanning micellization and crystallization, which, nevertheless, conforms to neither colloid nor solution sciences. Here, we investigate the weak self-assembly in water-amphiphile-oil solutions to understand the connection between the amphiphilic molecular structure and water solubilization in oil. X-ray and neutron scattering, converged with large-scale atomistic molecular dynamics simulations, support the fact that the amphiphiles assemble into liquid worm-like micelles and loose inverted proto-micelles. The inverted proto-micelles are energetically ready to accommodate a higher amount of water. These structures arise from a balance of intermolecular interactions controlled by the amphiphile tail-group structures. Thus, by linking the aggregate morphology to the molecular structure, this work provides insights on the molecular design for control of water solubility and dispersion in oil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12908-12915
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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