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Issue 3, 2012
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Structure and dynamics of balanced supercritical CO2-microemulsions

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Balanced scCO2-microemulsions contain equal volumes of water and CO2 and are a novel class of microemulsions of substantial interest for both fundamental research and technical applications. One existing feature of these systems is that the solvent quality of scCO2, and hence the overall microemulsion properties, is tuned simply by adjusting pressure, which is not possible with “classical” microemulsions containing oil instead of CO2. Motivated by this, we systematically investigated the phase behavior, the microstructure, and the dynamics of balanced microemulsion systems of the type H2O–CO2–Zonyl FSO 100/Zonyl FSN 100. In systematic phase behavior studies, we found that upon increasing pressure, CO2 and water are more efficiently solubilized. Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiments were conducted in order to determine the topology and the length scales of the underlying microstructure. The results obtained strongly suggest the existence of bicontinuously structured microemulsions with an adjustable characteristic length scale of up to 330 Å. From a quantitative analysis of the SANS data, we found that at a fixed microemulsion composition the stiffness of the surfactant membrane is increased solely by increasing the pressure, whereby the renormalization corrected (i.e. bare) bending rigidity κ0,SANS rises from κ0,SANS = 0.88 kBT at 200 bar to 0.93 kBT at 300 bar. These findings were confirmed with high pressure neutron spin echo experiments.

Graphical abstract: Structure and dynamics of balanced supercritical CO2-microemulsions

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Aug 2011, accepted on 19 Oct 2011 and first published on 14 Nov 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1SM06533E
Citation: Soft Matter, 2012,8, 797-807
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    Structure and dynamics of balanced supercritical CO2-microemulsions

    M. Klostermann, R. Strey, T. Sottmann, R. Schweins, P. Lindner, O. Holderer, M. Monkenbusch and D. Richter, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 797
    DOI: 10.1039/C1SM06533E

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