1,3:2,4-di-p-methylbenzylidene sorbitol (MDBS) is a small organic molecule that is capable of inducing self-assembly in a wide variety of organic solvents and of forming organogels. In this paper, we present a novel approach to tune the network architectures of organogels by utilizing geometric confinement while varying the gelator concentration. Self-assembly of MDBS in propylene carbonate (PC) is investigated in a series of microchannels with widths varying from 20 to 80 μm and the gelator concentration varying from 2 to 7 wt %. We demonstrate by optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) that a transition from fibrillar structure to sheaflike spherulite structure occurs when (a) the channel width is increased for fixed gelator concentrations and (b) gelator concentration is increased for fixed channel widths. A phase diagram is built based on these observations. Polarized microscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images are also obtained for organogel under unconfined condition to display the spherulite structures viewed under different length scales. The thermal properties of the organogel are measured by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to verify the structural difference obtained under confined and unconfined conditions and the structure stability. Our results provide a novel strategy to control the topological structure of self-assembled systems and to modify their thermal properties via geometric confinement.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - Sep 16 2008|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces