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Effect of gel matrix confinement on the solvent dynamics in supramolecular gels

Kowalczuk, Joanna, Rachocki, Adam, Bielejewski, Michał, Tritt-Goc, Jadwiga
Journal of colloid and interface science 2016 v.472 pp. 60-68
butanol, diffusivity, gels, liquids, microscopy, microstructure, models, nanopores, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, solvents, sugars, translation (genetics)
Supramolecular gels formed by the sugar gelator of methyl-4,6-O-(p-nitrobenzylidene)-α-d-glucopyranoside (1) with 1,3-propanediol (PG) and 1-butanol (BU) were prepared with different gelator concentrations. The solvent dynamics within gels, characterized by the diffusion coefficient (D) and the spin-lattice relaxation time (T1), was the subject of NMR diffusometry and relaxometry studies. The diffusion was studied as a function of diffusion time and gelator concentrations. The relaxation time was measured as a function of Larmor frequency. The decrease of the diffusion coefficient was observed as a function of diffusion time for both gels and for all studied gelator concentrations. It is indicative of the confinement effect due to the geometrical restrictions of the gel matrix. The relaxation data for PG solvent confined in 1/PG gel revealed the low frequency dispersion (in kHz region) which is a fingerprint of a specific interaction experienced by PG solvents in the presence of the rigid structure of gelator 1 aggregates. The relaxation model, well known from the interpretation of liquid confined in nanopores as reorientations mediated by translational displacements (RMTD), was successfully applied to analyze the data of studied solvents confined in matrices of supramolecular gels. The microstructures of gel matrices were imaged by Polarized Microscopy.