A light-responsive organofluid based on reverse worm-like micelles formed from an equi-charged, mixed, anionic gemini surfactant with an azobenzene spacer and a cationic conventional surfactant†
An equally-charged mixture of an anionic gemini surfactant, O,O′-bis(sodium 2-tetradecylcarboxylate)-p-azodiphendiol (G14-azo), and a cationic surfactant, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), was dissolved in cyclohexane to form reverse worm-like micelles. Samples with different surfactant concentrations and amounts of added water were studied using rheological measurements. The amount of water, represented as the molar ratio of water to total surfactants W0, was c. 13 (at its minimum) in these equally charged systems of G14-azo (200 mmol L−1)/CTAB. The low shear viscosity ηL of this system reached 4370 Pa s at W0 = 13 and the dynamic rheological result showed typical surfactant gel behaviour. Under UV-light irradiation, the transparent sample (G14-azo (300 mmol L−1)/CTAB (600 mmol L−1)) at W0 = 40 became turbid, during which ηL was rapidly reduced from the original 285 Pa s to 0.3 Pa s, indicating a transition of aggregate morphology from reverse worms into simple reverse micelles. Then the sample was returned to its original homogeneous state with c. 290 Pa s viscosity under visible light irradiation. However, this transition cannot be well achieved at low W0 due to the interior cores being too small. This limit has been attributed to both the Gemini type of surfactant molecule and to the inverted structure of aggregates.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Surfactants & lipids