Complex by design: Hydrotrope-induced micellar growth in deep eutectic solvents

Adrian Sanchez-Fernandez, Anna E. Leung, Elizabeth G. Kelley, Andrew J. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


Hypothesis: The self-assembly of ionic surfactants in deep eutectic solvents has recently been demonstrated, opening up new possibilities in terms of the development of formulated products and templating of nanostructured materials. As it occurs in an aqueous environment, the solvophobic effect drives the formation of micelles in these solvents and specific-ion interactions alter the resulting structures. We hypothesized that the presence of hydrotropic salts would greatly affect the micellar structure in deep eutectic solvents, ultimately leading to the formation of worm-like aggregates. Experiments: A systematic investigation performed on hydrotrope-surfactant assemblies in neat and hydrated 1:2 choline chloride:glycerol is presented. The effect of choline salicylate on the micellization of hexadecyltrimethylammonium chloride at different hydrotrope-to-surfactant ratios was probed by contrast variation small-angle neutron scattering. Findings: Here the first investigation on salt-induced micellar growth in deep eutectic solvents is presented. The microscopic characterization of the system shows that the micelle-hydrotrope interaction in pure and hydrated deep eutectic solvents results in a significant increase in micelle elongation. The condensation of the hydrotrope on the micelle, which alters the effective monomer packing, leads to the formation of worm-like micelles with tunable morphology and flexibility. The results presented here present new possibilities in terms of self-assembly and co-assembly in neoteric solvents, where micelle morphology can be controlled through surfactant-salt interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Materials Chemistry


  • Deep eutectic solvent
  • Hydrotrope
  • Small-angle neutron scattering
  • Worm-like micelle


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