Molecular Origins of Mesoscale Ordering in a Metalloamphiphile Phase

Baofu Qiao, Geoffroy Ferru, Monica D Olvera, Ross J. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


Controlling the assembly of soft and deformable molecular aggregates into mesoscale structures is essential for understanding and developing a broad range of processes including rare earth extraction and cleaning of water, as well as for developing materials with unique properties. By combined synchrotron small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering with large-scale atomistic molecular dynamics simulations we analyze here a metalloamphiphile–oil solution that organizes on multiple length scales. The molecules associate into aggregates, and aggregates flocculate into meso-ordered phases. Our study demonstrates that dipolar interactions, centered on the amphiphile headgroup, bridge ionic aggregate cores and drive aggregate flocculation. By identifying specific intermolecular interactions that drive mesoscale ordering in solution, we bridge two different length scales that are classically addressed separately. Our results highlight the importance of individual intermolecular interactions in driving mesoscale ordering.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-503
Number of pages11
JournalACS Central Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2015


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