Planar lamellae and onions: a spatially resolved rheo-NMR approach to the shear-induced structural transformations in a surfactant model system
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The shear-induced transformations between oriented planar lamellae and a state of closely packed multilamellar vesicles (MLVs) in a lyotropic nonionic surfactant model system were studied by the combination of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and diffusometry with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). H-2 NMR imaging confirmed the discontinuous nature of the transition from onions to planar lamellae, revealing the spatial coexistence of both states within the gap of the cylindrical Couette geometry. On the other hand, NMR diffusion measurements in three principal directions and at various values of strain strongly suggest that a multi-lamellar cylindrical or undulated intermediate structure exists during the continuous and spatially homogeneous transition from planar lamellae to MLVs.