Double electron electron resonance as a method for characterization of micelles

Sharon Ruthstein, Alexey Potapov, Arnold M. Raitsimring, Daniella Goldfarb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Double electron electron resonance (DEER) is an experimental technique used to determine distance between electron spins. In this work, we show that it can be used to study the properties of micelles in solution, specifically their volume and the aggregation number. The feasibility of the method is tested on micelles of Pluronic block copolymers, PEOx-PPOy-PEO x, built from chains of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO), comprising the more hydrophilic corona, and a poly(propylene oxide) (PPO) block constituting the hydrophobic core. In this work, the dimensions of the hydrophobic core of micelles of Pluronic L64 (x = 13, y = 30), P123 (x = 20, y = 70), and F127 (x = 106, y = 70) and their aggregation number were studied. This was done using the spin-probe 4-hydroxy-tempo-benzoate (4HTB), which is hydrophobic and is localized in the hydrophobic core of the micelles and does not dissolve in aqueous solution. The measurements were carried out on frozen solutions, freeze quenched after equilibration at 50 °C. It was found that the hydrophobic core radii occupied by 4HTB in 7.5 wt % F127 and 6 wt % L64 are 4.0 ± 0.05 and 3.8 ± 0.1 nm, respectively, and the corresponding aggregation numbers are 57 ± 2 and 206 ± 14. The micelles of 6 wt % P123 were found to have a rod shape, and the addition of 4HTB at concentrations higher than 0.7 mM resulted in a phase transitioned to spherical micelles. Finally, this study also showed that the micelle structure is preserved upon rapid freezing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22843-22851
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number48
StatePublished - 8 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


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