Synthetic myelin figures immobilized in polymer gels†
Myelin-like instabilities usually form from the interface of amphiphilic lamellar phases and solvent, and resemble the neuron-like structures in nerve systems. However, these myelin structures are thermodynamically unstable. We herein present our first success in synthesizing stable myelin figures via separated organized-polymerization. Myelin figures formed with a polymerizable nonionic surfactant have been immobilized in polymer gels. The results obtained from confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), small angle X-ray scattering (SASX) and freeze fracture transmission electron microscopy (FF-TEM) clearly prove that the myelin structures have been well immobilized without any structural change. The immobilized myelin structures in polymer gels were kept for 6 months and no obvious change was observed in their structures and/or shapes. The success in stabilizing these unstable myelin structures provides some potential for applications, such as anisotropic gels, electrophoresis mediums for the separation of hydrophobic materials and so on.