Dynamically arrested micelles in a supercooled sugar urea melt

Santosh L. Gawali, Mingming Zhang, Sugam Kumar, Vinod K. Aswal, Dganit Danino, Puthusserickal A. Hassan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Micelles are nanoscopic, dynamic, equilibrium structures formed by the association of amphiphiles in a liquid. To date, freezing of disordered micelles typically requires cryogenic quenching. This avoids crystallization of the solvent or surfactant, mitigating against micelle destruction. Here we describe a method to create disordered, dynamically arrested water-free micelles, trapped in a glass-forming solvent at ambient temperature. The micelles are formed by dissolving a surfactant in a molten mixture of sugar (fructose or glucose) and urea. These micelles are trapped in a supercooled state upon cooling the mixture, forming an amorphous micro-heterogeneous material driven by hydrogen bonding interactions. Since all components used in this formulation are solid at room temperature, the supercooled micelle formation is analogous to biphasic alloy formation in metals. This method may provide a way to prepare microphase separated organic solids and to control diffusion-limited aggregation of nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
JournalCommunications Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


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