Distortion of surfactant lamellar phases induced by surface roughness★
Centre for Neutron Scattering, Uppsala University, 516, 75120 Uppsala, Sweden
2 Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) at Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Lichtenbergstr. 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
* e-mail: Adrian.Rennie@physics.uu.se
Accepted: 6 August 2020
Published online: 16 November 2020
Self-assembly is a characteristic property of soft matter. Understanding the factors which assist or perturb this process is of great importance in many biological and industrial processes. Amphiphiles self-assemble and order into a variety of structures including well-ordered lamellar phases. The present work uses neutron reflectometry and neutron scattering to explore the effects of both interface roughness and temperature on the lamellar-phase structure of a non-ionic surfactant at a solid/liquid interface. The structure of concentrated solutions of tetraethyleneglycol dodecyl ether has been compared against a smooth surface and one with a roughness of the order of the lamellar spacing. This has been done in order to investigate the role perturbations have on the overall lamellar order, when these have length scales of the order of the interactions between neighboring lamellae. The results showed that the surfactant forms a well-ordered and aligned structure at a smooth surface, extending to a depth of several micrometers from the interface. Increasing the temperature of the sample and subsequent cooling promotes alignment and increases the number of oriented layers at the surface. The same sample forms a significantly less aligned structure against a rough surface that does not align to the same extent, even after heating. The perturbation of the structure caused by thermal fluctuations was found to be much less than that imposed by a small surface roughness.
Supplementary material in the form of one pdf file available from the Journal web page at https://doi.org/10.1140/epjst/e2020-900220-3
© The Author(s) 2020
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