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Author: 

Gabriel Heerdt

Author's email: 

gheerdt@hotmail.com

News Type: 

Hypothesis In photorheological fluids, subtle molecular changes caused by light lead to abrupt macroscopic alterations. Upon UV irradiation of an aqueous cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and trans-ortho-methoxycinnamic acid (trans-OMCA) solution, for instance, the viscosity drops over orders of magnitude. Multiscale modeling allows to elucidate the mechanisms behind these photorheological effects. Experiments We use time-dependent DFT calculations to study the photoisomerization, and a combination of atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) and DFT to probe the influence of both OMCA isomers on the micellar solutions. Findings The time-dependent DFT calculations show that the isomerization pathway occurs in the first triplet excited state with a minimum energy conformation closest to the after photoisomerization predominant cis configuration. In the MD simulations, with sub-microsecond timescales much shorter than the experimental morphological transition, already a clear difference is observed in the packing of the two OMCA isomers: contrary to trans-OMCA, cis-OMCA exposes notable part of its hydrophobic aromatic rings at the micelle surface. This can explain why trans-OMCA adopts rod-like micellar packing (high viscosity) while cis-OMCA spherical micellar packing (low viscosity). Moreover, lowering of the OMCA co-solute concentration allowed us to perform full simulation of the breakup process of the rod-like micelles which are stable prior to isomerization.
Photoisomerization induced scission of rod-like micelles unravelled with multiscale modeling

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Hypothesis
In photorheological fluids, subtle molecular changes caused by light lead to abrupt macroscopic alterations. Upon UV irradiation of an aqueous cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and trans-ortho-methoxycinnamic acid (trans-OMCA) solution, for instance, the viscosity drops over orders of magnitude. Multiscale modeling allows to elucidate the mechanisms behind these photorheological effects.
Experiments
We use time-dependent DFT calculations to study the photoisomerization, and a combination of atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) and DFT to probe the influence of both OMCA isomers on the micellar solutions.
Findings
The time-dependent DFT calculations show that the isomerization pathway occurs in the first triplet excited state with a minimum energy conformation closest to the after photoisomerization predominant cis configuration. In the MD simulations, with sub-microsecond timescales much shorter than the experimental morphological transition, already a clear difference is observed in the packing of the two OMCA isomers: contrary to trans-OMCA, cis-OMCA exposes notable part of its hydrophobic aromatic rings at the micelle surface. This can explain why trans-OMCA adopts rod-like micellar packing (high viscosity) while cis-OMCA spherical micellar packing (low viscosity). Moreover, lowering of the OMCA co-solute concentration allowed us to perform full simulation of the breakup process of the rod-like micelles which are stable prior to isomerization.

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