Neutron spin-echo investigation of the microemulsion dynamics. in bicontinuous, lamellar and droplet phases
Using neutron spin-echo (NSE) spectroscopy in combination with dynamic light scattering (DLS), we performed an extensive investigation of the bicontinuous phase in ternary water-surfactant-oil microemulsions, with extension to lamellar and droplet phases. The dynamical behavior of surfactant monolayers of decyl-polyglycol-ether (C10E4) molecules, or mixtures of surfactant with long amphiphilic block-copolymers of type poly-ethylene propylene/poly-ethylene oxide (PEP-PEO) was studied, under comparable conditions. The investigation techniques provide access to different length scales relative to the characteristic periodicity length of the microemulsion structure. Information on the elastic bending modulus is obtained from the local scale dynamics in view of existing theoretical descriptions and is found to be in accordance with small angle neutron scattering (SANS) studies. Evidence for the modified elastic properties and additional interaction of the amphiphilic layers due to the polymer is more pronounced at a larger scale. Experiments on oriented lamellar phases, and also droplet phases, with anchored block-copolymers offer more insight into the effective layer-layer interaction and efficiency boosting associated with the polymers.