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Rupture of Pluronic Micelles by Di-Methylated β-Cyclodextrin Is Not Due to Polypseudorotaxane Formation

Latest updated: May 26, 2020

Margarita Valero, Isabelle Grillo, and Cécile A. Dreiss
J. Phys. Chem. B, 2012, 116 (4), pp 1273–1281



Spectroscopic measurements (uv/vis absorbance and fluorescence) and time-resolved small-angle neutron scattering experiments (TR-SANS) were used to follow the breakdown of Pluronic micelles by heptakis(2,6-di-O-methyl)-β-cyclodextrin (DIMEB) over time in order to elucidate the mechanism of micellar rupture, generally attributed to polypseudotorotaxane (PR) formation between the cyclodextrin and the central hydrophobic PPO block. The spectroscopic measurements with two different probes (methyl orange and nile red) suggest that very rapid changes (on the order of seconds) take place when mixing DIMEB with F127 Pluronic and that no displacement of the probe from the cyclodextrin cavity occurs, which is in disagreement with PR formation. TR-SANS measurements demonstrate for the first time that the micelles are broken down in less than 100 ms, which categorically rules out PR formation as the mechanism of rupture. In addition, the same mechanism is demonstrated with other Pluronics, P85 and P123. In the latter case, after micellar rupture, lamellar structures are seen to form over a longer period of time, thus suggesting that after the instantaneous micellar disruption, further, longer-scale rearrangements are not excluded.


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