We report detailed small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) studies of the impact of variable n-decane loadings on the lyotropic liquid crystalline (LLC) phase behaviors of homologous bis(tetramethylammonium) gemini didecanoate surfactants TMA-7x, which derive from dimerizing decanoic acid through its α-carbon with hydrocarbyl linkers -(CH2)x- where x = 3, 4, 5, and 6. TMA-7x amphiphiles with x = 3 or 5 exhibit a strong propensity to form normal double gyroid (G) LLC network mesophases over wide surfactant hydration ranges, as compared to homologues with x = 4 or 6. On swelling aqueous TMA-7x LLC mesophases with up to 35 wt % n-decane, we demonstrate that odd-carbon linked surfactants (x = 3 or 5) form G and normal double diamond (D) phases over wide water concentration windows with T = 22-100 °C. Complementary studies of decane-swollen TMA-7x (x = 4 or 6) aqueous LLCs instead demonstrate significantly diminished network phase stability, in favor of hexagonally-packed cylinder phases and a zoo of complex quasispherical micelle packings, which include micellar C14 and C15 Laves phases (P63/mmc and Fd3(-)m symmetries, respectively) and high-symmetry hexagonally close packed (HCP) and body-centered cubic (BCC) arrangements. These rich phase behaviors are rationalized in terms of linker length parity-dependent surfactant conformations and the delicate free energy balance that guides the packing of these geometrically anisotropic amphiphiles by minimizing unfavorable water-hydrophobic contacts, maximizing ionic surfactant-headgroup counterion solvation with minimal local variations, and maximizing electrostatic cohesion within these supramolecular assemblies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge financial support from National Science Foundation grant NSF-1608115 and NSF-1807330. Synchrotron SAXS analyses were conducted at Sector 12 of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, which is supported through the U.S. DOE Contract DE-AC02-06CH11357. Research results reported in this publication was supported by the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number S10OD011952. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. We thank Ashish Jayaraman for insightful discussions.
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