Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 32, 2014
Previous Article Next Article

Quenched microemulsions: a new route to proton conductors

Author affiliations


Solid-state proton conductors operating under mild temperature conditions (T < 150 °C) would promote the use of electrochemical devices as fuel cells. Alternatives to the water-sensitive membranes made of perfluorinated sulfonated polymers require the use of protogenic moieties bearing phosphates/phosphonates or imidazole groups. Here, we formulate microemulsions using water, a cationic surfactant (cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide, CTAB) and a fatty acid (myristic acid, MA). The fatty acid acts both as an oil phase above its melting point (52 °C) and as a protogenic moiety. We demonstrate that the mixed MA–CTA film presents significant proton conductivity. Furthermore, bicontinuous microemulsions are found in the water–CTAB–MA phase diagram above 52 °C, where molten MA plays both the role of the oil phase and the co-surfactant. This indicates that the hydrogen-bond rich MA–CTA film can be formulated in the molten phase. The microemulsion converts into a lamellar phase upon solidification at room temperature. Our results demonstrate the potential of such self-assembled materials for the design of bulk proton conductors, but also highlight the necessity to control the evolution of the nanostructure upon solidification of the oil phase.

Graphical abstract: Quenched microemulsions: a new route to proton conductors

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 18 Apr 2014, accepted on 04 Jun 2014 and first published on 04 Jun 2014

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM00849A
Author version
Download author version (PDF)
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 5928-5935
  •   Request permissions

    Quenched microemulsions: a new route to proton conductors

    C. Noirjean, F. Testard, J. Jestin, O. Taché, C. Dejugnat and D. Carriere, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 5928
    DOI: 10.1039/C4SM00849A

Search articles by author