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Cosurfactant effect of a semifluorinated alkane at a fluorocarbon/water interface: impact on the stabilization of fluorocarbon-in-water emulsions.

  • Bertilla, Sabina Marie
  • Thomas, Jean-Louis
  • Marie, Pascal
  • Krafft, Marie Pierre
Published Article
Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids
Publication Date
May 11, 2004
PMID: 15969380


Previous work has demonstrated that semifluorinated alkanes CnF2n+1CmH2m+1 (FnHm diblocks), when used in conjunction with phospholipids, strongly stabilize fluorocarbon (FC)-in-water emulsions destined to be used as oxygen carriers. Although the presence of FnHm diblocks in the emulsion's interfacial phospholipid film was suggested to account for the observed stabilization, no direct proof of the diblock's location has been provided so far. We now report definite experimental evidence of the diblock's presence at the interfacial film, both on a macroscopic level by investigating the FC/water interface using the pendant drop method and directly on emulsions by monitoring their stability for various phospholipid chain lengths. We first establish that F8H16 has a strong cosurfactant effect with phospholipids [dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC), dilaurylphosphatidylcholine (DLPC), dioctanoylphosphatidylcholine (PCL8)] at a perfluorooctyl bromide (PFOB)/water interface, as evidenced by a dramatic F8H16-concentration-dependent decrease of the interfacial tension. Where FC emulsions are concerned, we show that the stabilization effect, which consists of a decrease of the rate of molecular diffusion of the FC, depends strongly on the length of the phospholipid's fatty chain as compared to the length of the hydrocarbon segment, Hm, of the diblock. Stabilization is maximized when the Hm length is similar to that of the phospholipid's fatty chains. A strong mismatch between Hm and the phospholipid chain length can actually destabilize the emulsion. A different destabilization mechanism is then at work: coalescence. The presence of F8H16 at the interfacial film is further supported by the fact that perfluorodecyl bromide, a heavy analogue of PFOB that stabilizes PFOB emulsions by lowering the solubility and diffusibility of the emulsion's dispersed FC phase, exercises its stabilizing effect similarly for all the phospholipids investigated.

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