Water-responsive internally structured polymer-surfactant films on solid surfaces

Charlotte Gustavsson, Joaquim Li, Karen J. Edler, Lennart Piculell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


Water-insoluble films of oppositely charged polyion-surfactant ion "complex salts" (CS) are readily cast on solid surfaces from ethanolic solutions. The methodology introduces new possibilities to study and utilize more or less hydrated CS. Direct SAXS measurements show that the surface films are water-responsive and change their liquid crystalline structure in response to changes in the water activity of the environment. In addition to the classical micellar cubic and hexagonal phases, a rectangular ribbon phase and a hexagonal close-packed structure have now been detected for CS composed of cationic alkyltrimethylammonium surfactants with polyacrylate counterions. Added cosurfactants, decanol or the nonionic surfactant C12E5, yield additional lamellar and bicontinuous cubic structures. Images of the surfaces by optical and atomic force microscopy show that the films cover the surfaces well but have a more or less irregular surface topology, including "craters" of sizes ranging from a few to hundreds of micrometers. The results indicate possibilities to create a wealth of water-responsive structured CS films on solid surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12525-12531
Number of pages7
Issue number42
Early online date29 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2014


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