From the microscopic to the mesoscopic properties of lyotropic reverse hexagonal liquid crystals

Dima Libster, Paul Ben Ishai, Abraham Aserin, Gil Shoham, Nissim Garti

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34 Scopus citations


In the present study we aimed to explore a correlation between the microstructural properties of the lyotropic reverse hexagonal phase (H II) of the GMO/tricaprylin/phosphatidylcholine/water system and its mesoscopic structure. The mesoscopic organization of discontinuous and anisotropic domains was examined, in the native state, using environmental scanning electron microscopy. The topography of the HII mesophases was imaged directly in their hydrated state, as a function of aqueous-phase concentration and composition, when a proline amino acid was solubilized into the systems as a kosmotropic (water-structure maker) guest molecule. The domain structures of several dozen micrometers in size, visualized in the environmental scanning electron microscopy, were found to possess fractal characteristics, indicating a discontinuous and disordered alignment of the corresponding internal water rods on the mesoscale. On the microstructural level, SAXS measurements revealed that as water content (Cw) increases the characteristic lattice parameter of the mesophases increases as well. Using the water concentration as the mass measure of the mixtures, a scaling relationship between the lattice parameter and the concentration was found to obey a power law whereby the derived fractal dimension was the relevant exponent, confirming the causal link between the microscopic and mesoscopic organizations. The topography of the HII mesophase was found to be affected by the microstructural parameters and the composition of the samples. Thermal analysis experiments involving these systems further confirmed that the behavior of water underpins both microscopical and mesoscopic features of the systems. It was shown that both the swelling of the lattice parameter and the mesoscopic domains is correlated to the bulk water concentration in the water rods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2118-2127
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


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