The correlation between molecular changes and microstructural evolution of rheological properties has been demonstrated for the first time in a mixed anionic/zwitterionic surfactant-based wormlike micellar system. Utilizing a novel combination of DLS-microrheology and Raman Spectroscopy, the effect of electrostatic screening on these properties of anionic (SLES) and zwitterionic (CapB) surfactant mixtures was studied
by modulating the
NaCl concentration. As Raman Spectroscopy delivers information about the molecular structure and DLS-microrheology characterizes viscoelastic properties, the combination of data delivered allows for a deeper understanding of the molecular changes underlying the viscoelastic ones. The high frequency viscoelastic response obtained through DLS-microrheology has shown the persistence of the Maxwell fluid response for low viscosity solutions at high NaCl concentrations. The intensity of the Raman band at 170 cm−1
exhibits very strong correlation with the viscosity variation. As this Raman band is assigned to hydrogen bonding, its variation with NaCl concentration additionally indicates differences in water structuring due to potential microstructural differences at low and high NaCl concentrations. The microstructural differences at low and high NaCl concentrations are further corroborated by persistence of a slow mode at the higher NaCl concentrations as seen through DLS measurements. The study illustrates the utility of the combined DLS, DLS-optical microrheology and Raman Spectroscopy in providing new molecular structural insights into the self-assembly process in complex fluids.
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