Lateral confinement effects on the structural properties of surfactant aggregates: SDS on graphene

NR Tummala and BP Grady and A Striolo, PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 12, 13137-13143 (2010).

DOI: 10.1039/c0cp00600a

The structure of aqueous sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) surfactant aggregates formed on small graphene sheets and graphene nanoribbons has been studied using all-atom molecular dynamics simulations. Because the edges of the carbonaceous supports confine laterally the surfactant aggregates, by changing the size of the support (diameter of graphene sheets and width of graphene nanoribbons) it is possible to investigate lateral confinement effects on the aggregate morphology. The results are compared to those available on graphite, with no lateral confinement. Aqueous SDS aggregates were studied on 2.0 nm, 5.0 nm, and 10.0 nm circular graphene sheets and on 2.0 and 5.0 nm wide graphene nanoribbons. For the first time our results show that, because of lateral confinement provided by the graphene edges, SDS yields multiple layers, hemispheres, hemicylinders or multiple hemispheres depending on the graphene size and shape. Results are quantified in terms of morphology of the surfactant aggregates, order parameter of the adsorbed surfactant aggregates, and number of water molecules at contact with the carbonaceous support.

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