Phase behaviour and aggregate structures of the surface-active ionic liquid [BMIm][AOT] in water

Yunxiao Zhang, Joshua B. Marlow, Kathleen Wood, Jianan Wang, Gregory G. Warr, Hua Li, Rob Atkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Hypothesis: The surface-active ionic liquid, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium 1,4-bis-2-ethylhexylsulfosuccinate ([BMIm][AOT]), has a sponge-like bulk nanostructure consisting of percolating polar and apolar domains formed by the ion charge groups and alkyl chains, respectively. We hypothesise that added water will swell the polar domains and change the liquid nanostructure. Experiments: Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), small angle neutron scattering (SANS) and polarizing optical microscopy (POM) were used to investigate the nanostructure of [BMIm][AOT] as a function of water content. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was employed to probe the thermal transitions of [BMIm][AOT]-water mixtures and the mobility of water molecules. Findings: SAXS, SANS and POM show that at lower water contents, [BMIm][AOT]-water mixtures have a sponge-like nanostructure similar to the pure SAIL, at medium water contents a lamellar phase forms, and at high water contents vesicles form. DSC results reveal that water molecules are supercooled in the lamellar phase. For the first time, results reveal a series of transitions from inverse sponge, to lamellar then to vesicles, for [BMIm][AOT] upon dilution with water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-757
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2023


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