Understanding the role of co-surfactants in microemulsions on the growth of copper oxalate using SAXS
This study is an effort to understand the mechanism of the effect of the chain length of co-surfactants on the growth of copper oxalate inside the core of reverse micelles using small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). In this study, we have used two different kinds of co-surfactants viz. 1-butanol (C4) and 1-octanol (C8) for the formation of the microemulsions. Time-dependent SAXS studies were carried out for these two systems. The data were analyzed using both the model-independent approach and model-dependent approach. For microemulsions containing only water inside the core of reverse micelles (no ions), the shape of the reverse micelles was observed to be ellipsoid and spherical in nature for 1-butanol and 1-octanol respectively. For a system containing copper oxalate nanostructures, the fitting was carried out using the ellipsoidal core–shell model for reverse micelles and spheres, ellipsoids and cylinders for copper oxalate nanostructures with 1-butanol as the co-surfactant. With 1-octanol as the co-surfactant, the two contributions that were used were the spherical core–shell model for reverse micelles and spheres for copper oxalate nanostructures. Based on the analysis of SAXS data, a growth mechanism has been proposed. The study discussed here could open the field of understanding the growth mechanism of complex nanostructures formed using the microemulsion route.