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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Probing Self-Assembly in Arginine–Oleic Acid Solutions with Terahertz Spectroscopy and X‑ray Scattering


A study of the formation of microstructures in the reaction of oleic acid with arginine elucidates dynamical self-assembly processes at the molecular level. Terahertz spectroscopy combined with density functional calculations reveals the initial hydrogen-bonding motifs in the assembly process, leading to the formation of micelles and vesicles. Small-angle X-ray scattering measurements allow for kinetic analysis of the growth processes of these nanostructures, revealing a prenucleation pathway of vesicles and micelles which lead to spongelike structures. This final stage of the assembly into spongelike aggregates is investigated with optical microscopy. The formed structures only occur at pH > 8 and are resistant to extreme acidic and basic conditions. A mechanistic pathway to the formation of the spongelike aggregates is described.

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