Interaction of polystyrene-block-poly(methacrylic acid) micelles (PS-PMAA) with cationic surfactant N-dodecylpyridinium chloride (DPCl) in alkaline aqueous solutions was studied by static and dynamic light scattering, SAXS, cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM), isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy. ITC and fluorescence measurements show that there are two distinct regimes of surfactant binding in the micellar corona (depending on the DPCl content) caused by different interactions of DPCl with PMAA in the inner and outer parts of the corona. The compensation of the negative charge of the micellar corona by DPCl leads to the aggregation of PS-PMAA micelles, and the micelles form colloidal aggregates at a certain critical surfactant concentration. SAXS shows that the aggregates are formed by individual PS-PMAA micelles with intact cores and collapsed coronas interconnected with surfactant micelles by electrostatic interactions. Unlike polyelectrolyte-surfactant complexes formed by free polyelectrolyte chains, the PMAA/DPCl complex with collapsed corona does not contain surfactant micelles.
Delisavva, Foteini, Mariusz Uchman, Juraj Škvarla, Edyta Woźniak, Ewa Pavlova, Miroslav Šlouf, Vasil M. Garamus, Karel Procházka, Miroslav Štěpánek