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Self-Assembly and Chiral Recognition of Chiral Cationic Gemini Surfactants

Zhou, Lili, Yue, Jiling, Fan, Yaxun, Wang, Yilin
Langmuir 2018 v.34 no.43 pp. 12924-12933
aqueous solutions, bilirubin, enantiomers, hydrogen bonding, liquid-air interface, micelles, moieties, neutron diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, optical isomerism, scanning electron microscopy, stereochemistry, surfactants, transmission electron microscopy
Chiral cationic gemini surfactants 1,4-bis(dodecyl-N,N-dimethylammonium bromide)-2,3-butanediol (12-4(OH)₂-12) including racemate, mesomer, and two enantiomers were synthesized and their self-assembly in aqueous solution has been comparatively investigated by tensiometry, conductometry, ¹H NMR, small-angle neutron scattering, cryogenic transmission electron microscopy, and cryogenic scanning electron microscopy. The chirality at spacer induces different self-assembly behaviors due to the hydrogen-bonding interaction between the hydroxyl groups at the chiral centers. The stereochemistry of the spacer has little effect on the release of the counterions from the surfactant headgroups and on the molecular packing at the air–water interface. The critical micelle concentration (CMC) decreases in the order of racemate > enantiomer > mesomer. Above the CMC, the aggregates of enantiomers transit from small spherical micelles to rodlike and wormlike micelles with increasing concentration, whereas the mesomer and racemate aggregates transform from spherical micelles to rodlike micelles and platelet-like aggregates. The differences may be because the mesomer and racemate molecules mainly form intermolecular hydrogen bonds between the −OH groups, but the enantiomer molecules dominantly form intramolecular hydrogen bonds. Furthermore, it was found that the chiral micelles formed by the enantiomers exhibit enantioselection ability for bilirubin (BR) enantiomers. The recognition capability can be adjusted by the micellar structure, i.e., the rodlike micelles are better than either small spherical micelles or wormlike micelles, which might possess different chiral cavities, controlling BR shape and location. These results demonstrate that the aggregates of chiral gemini surfactants can be used to mimic the chiral recognition in biological membrane.