ICS Key Visual

Navigation and service


Amphiphilic Block Copolymers in Bicontinuous Microemulsions


When a small amount of surfactant molecules is added to a phase-separated mixture of oil and water, a homogeneous "microemulsion" phase forms, which contains roughly equal amount of oil and water. This phase has a "bicontinuous" structure, since it consists of two mutually intertwined networks of oil- and water channels (see figure).
Small amounts of an amphiphilic block copolymer lead to a dramatic increase in the volumes of oil and water, which can be solubilized in a bicontinuous microemulsion. The effect of various block copolymers lengths and concentrations on the structure and phase behavior of ternary microemulsions has been investigated. High-precision neutron scattering experiments provide clear evidence that the polymers form uniformly distributed "mushroom" conformations on the surfactant membrane (see figure). Based on these observations, we propose an universal mechanism for the swelling behavior, which is due to the variation of the membrane curvature elasticity.

( J. Allgaier, G. Gompper, H. Endo, B. Jakobs,
M. Monkenbusch, D. Richter, T. Sottmann und
R. Strey)

Cubic bicontinuous phases in ternary amphiphilic systems


Interfaces in amphiphilic systems can often be well described by elastic sheets with bending rigidity k, saddle-splay modulus k, and spontaneous curvature c0. The amphiphilic monolayers in ternary mixtures with water and oil can arrange in different ways to form micellar, hexagonal, lamellar and various triply periodic, bicontinuous cubic phases. The relative stability of the latter phases can be explained by the way in which their universal geometrical properties conspire with the concentration constraints. We find that the most stable cubic phases with decreasing k<0 are the single and double gyroid structures -- see figure for gyroid minimal surface.

( G. Gompper, U. S. Schwarz)









Dear visitor,

To make our website suit your needs even more and to give it a more appealing design, we would like you to answer a few short questions.

Answering these questions will take approx. 10 min.

Start now Close window

Thank you for your support!


In case you have already taken part in our survey or in case you have no time to take part now, you can simply close the window by clicking "close".

If you have any questions on the survey, please do not hesitate to contact: webumfrage@fz-juelich.de.


Your Team at Forschungszentrum Jülich


Note: Forschungszentrum Jülich works with the market research institute SKOPOS to anonymously conduct and analyze the survey. SKOPOS complies with the statutory requirements on data protection as well as with the regulations of ADM (Arbeitskreis Deutscher Markt- und Sozialforschungsinstitute e.V.) and ESOMAR (Europäische Gesellschaft für Meinungs- und Marketingforschung). Your data will not be forwarded to third parties.