Spontaneous Self-Assembly of Thermoresponsive Vesicles Using a Zwitterionic and an Anionic Surfactant

Thomas M. McCoy, Joshua B. Marlow, Alexander J. Armstrong, Andrew J. Clulow, Christopher J. Garvey, Madhura Manohar, Tamim A. Darwish, Ben J. Boyd, Alexander F. Routh, Rico F. Tabor

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Spontaneous formation of vesicles from the self-assembly of two specific surfactants, one zwitterionic (oleyl amidopropyl betaine, OAPB) and the other anionic (Aerosol-OT, AOT), is explored in water using small-angle scattering techniques. Two factors were found to be critical in the formation of vesicles: surfactant ratio, as AOT concentrations less than equimolar with OAPB result in cylindrical micelles or mixtures of micellar structures, and salt concentration, whereby increasing the amount of NaCl promotes vesicle formation by reducing headgroup repulsions. Small-angle neutron scattering measurements reveal that the vesicles are approximately 30-40 nm in diameter, depending on sample composition. Small-angle X-ray scattering measurements suggest preferential partitioning of OAPB molecules on the vesicle inner layer to support vesicular packing. Heating the vesicles to physiological temperature (37 °C) causes them to collapse into smaller ellipsoidal micelles (2-3 nm), with higher salt concentrations (≥10 mM) inhibiting this transition. These aggregates could serve as responsive carriers for loading or unloading of aqueous cargoes such as drugs and pharmaceuticals, with temperature changes serving as a simple release/uptake mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4569-4576
Number of pages8
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2020

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