Phase behavior of a DNA-based surfactant mixed with water and n-alcohols

Cecilia Leal, Azat Bilalov, Björn Lindman

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The self-assembly behavior of a cationic surfactant (dodecyltrimethylammonium, DTA) with DNA as counterion in mixtures of water and n-alcohols (decanol, octanol, hexanol, butanol, and ethanol) was investigated. The phase diagrams were established and the different regions of the phase diagram characterized with respect to microstructure by 2H NMR, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and other techniques. The DNA-DTA surfactant is soluble in all of the studied alcohols, showing increased solubility from decanol down to ethanol. All of the phase diagrams are analogous with respect to the occurrence of liquid crystalline (LC) regions, but the area of the LC region increases as one goes from decanol to ethanol. In all phase diagrams, hexagonal phases (of the reversed type) for the alcohol-rich side and lamellar phases for the other side were detected. For balanced proportions of the components, there is a coexistence of the lamellar and the hexagonal phase, here detected with a double quadrupole splitting in the 2H NMR spectra. The correctness of the phase diagrams is confirmed by the fact that along the tie-lines the splitting magnitude remains nearly constant. All of the alcohols except for ethanol act as cosurfactants penetrating the DNA-DTA film. Adding salt to the ternary mixtures causes an increase in the unit cell dimension of the lamellar and the hexagonal phases. The phase diagram becomes more complicated when butanol is used for the alcohol phase. Here, there is the occurrence of a new isotropic phase with some properties analogous to those of the disordered sponge (L3) phase obtained for simple surfactant systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17221-17229
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 31 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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