An Insight into the Structure of Surfactants

The structure Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS) in aqueous solution was studied by small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The internal structure of the SDS micelles (inhomogeneous core-shell nanoparticles) was determined by calculating the radial electron density profile.

Surfactants and SAXS

Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS) is a highly effective anionic surfactant used in many hygiene and cleaning products or drug carrier systems. In aqueous solution, SDS molecules self-assemble and form micelles.

Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) allows to obtain the shape and size of such nano-sized micelles and - due to its sensitivity to electron-density differences - to determine the internal (core-shell) structure. This is of great importance for understanding and controlling the role of surfactants in different materials, e.g. the stability of emulsions or the release rate of the active ingredient in drug carrier systems.

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