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2015: A new type of self-assembled soft nanocomposites

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MSU physicists developed a new type of self-assembled structures, in which inorganic particles cross-link «living» micellar chains into a network. Their structure can easily be reorganized under the action of small external stimuli, which leads to viscous fluid ↔ viscoelastic solution ↔ elastic gel transition.

A smart self-assembled nanocomposite was developed, in which inorganic particles cross-link micellar chains into a 3D network. The network structure is composed of giant 10 micrometers long micellar chains consisting of assembled small molecules of surfactant. In these self-assembled chains surfactant molecules are linked by weak non-covalent interactions. As a result, the chains can be easily reorganized under external stimuli. Magnetite particles located in the cross-links make the system magnetoresponsive. Varying magnetic field strength causes a reversible transition of the system between three different states: viscous fluid ↔ viscoelastic solution ↔ elastic gel.

The results of this work have been published in the paper: Pletneva V. A., Molchanov V. S., Philippova O. E. “Viscoelasticity of smart fluids based on wormlike surfactant micelles and oppositely charged magnetic particles”, Langmuir 31(1), 110-119 (2015).