A new form of micelle, which is composed of detergents with bent aromatic panels, has been created by Michito Yoshizawa and his colleagues at Tokyo Institute of Technology. Unlike traditional micelles, the new ‘aromatic micelles’ are photoactive, and capable of encapsulating dye molecules and showing unusual fluorescence in aqueous solutions.
Figure 1: Schematic representation of spherical assemblies. a) A standard micelle composed of string-like detergents. b) An aromatic micelle composed of new detergents with bent aromatic panels.
Figure 2: a) Encapsulation of dye molecules (NR and DCM) by the aromatic micelle in aqueous solution. b) Molecular modeling of the aromatic micelle. c) Fluorescence spectra of the micelle, micelle-NR, and micelle-DCM complexes upon irradiation at 370 nm.
“The present micelles might be suitable for potential applications in the fields of photofunctional dyes, sensors, and materials owing to their ability to accommodate dye molecules and their efficient host-guest energy transfer in aqueous media,” explain the researchers. They also emphasise the straightforward synthesis, aqueous green chemistry and high stability of the aromatic micelles.Micelles are used in a range of dissolution, separation, and preservation applications and form the basis of soap detergents. They assemble from string-like molecules in aqueous solutions as a result of different chemical components (hydrophobic and hydrophilic moieties) at either end of the strings. Michito Yoshizawa and Kei Kondo et al. replaced the hydrophobic part of the string with large aromatic panels, which are known to be photochemically active.
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