Solution properties and electrospinning of phosphonium gemini surfactants

Sean T. Hemp, Amanda G. Hudson, Michael H. Allen, Sandeep S. Pole, Robert B. Moore, Timothy Edward Long*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Bis(diphenylphosphino)alkanes quantitatively react with excess 1-bromododecane to prepare novel phosphonium gemini surfactants with spacer lengths ranging from 2 to 4 methylenes (12-2/3/4-12P). Dodecyltriphenylphosphonium bromide (DTPP), a monomeric surfactant analog, was readily water soluble, however, in sharp contrast, phosphonium gemini surfactants were poorly soluble in water due to two hydrophobic tails and relatively hydrophobic cationic head groups containing phenyl substituents. Isothermal titration calorimetry did not reveal a measurable critical micelle concentration for the 12-2-12P phosphonium gemini surfactant in water at 25 °C. Subsequent studies in 50/50 v/v water-methanol at 25 °C showed a CMC of 1.0 mM for 12-2-12P. All phosphonium gemini surfactants effectively complexed nucleic acids, but failed to deliver nucleic acids in vitro to HeLa cells. The solution behavior of phosphonium gemini surfactants was investigated in chloroform, which is an organic solvent where reverse micellar structures are favored. Solution rheology in chloroform explored the solution behavior of the phosphonium gemini surfactants compared to DTPP. The 12-2-12P and 12-3-12P gemini surfactants were successfully electrospun from chloroform to generate uniform fibers while 12-4-12P gemini surfactant and DTPP only electrosprayed to form droplets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3970-3977
Number of pages8
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun 14
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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