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Author: Ralf Schweins (63)


Jan
2018

The dilute solution behavior of sodium poly(styrene sulfonate) is studied in the presence of trivalent Al3+ and bivalent Ba2+ cations at various levels of excess NaCl. The study evaluates the phase behavior and the morphology of the polyelectrolyte chains with increasing extent of decoration with the Al3+ and Ba2+ cations and analyses the effect of temperature on these decorated chains. The phase behavior is presented in the form of the cation concentration versus the respective poly(styrene sulfonate) concentration, recorded at the onset of precipitation.

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Nov
2017

Small-angle neutron scattering has been used to probe the interfacial structure of foams stabilised by small molecule surfactants at concentrations well below their critical micelle concentration. The data for wet foams showed a pronounced Q-4 dependence at low Q and noticeable inflexions over the mid Q range. These features were found to be dependent on the surfactant structure (mainly the alkyl chain length) with various inflexions across the measured Q range as a function of the chain length but independent of factors such as concentration and foam age/height.

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Nov
2017

Near-equilibrium stimulus-responsive polymers have been used extensively to introduce morphological variations in dependence of adaptable conditions. Far-less-well studied are triggered transformations at constant conditions. These require the involvement of metastable states, which are either able to approach the equilibrium state after deviation from metastability or can be frozen on returning from nonequilibrium to equilibrium.

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Nov
2017

Microemulsions are extensively used in advanced material and chemical processing. However, considerable amounts of surfactant are needed for their formulation, which is a drawback due to both economic and ecological reasons. Here, we describe the nanostructuration of recently discovered surfactant-free, carbon dioxide (CO2)-based microemulsion-like systems in a water/organic-solvent/CO2 pressurized ternary mixture.

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Aug
2017

Periodic superstructures of plasmonic nanoparticles have attracted significant interest because they can support coupled plasmonic modes, making them interesting for plasmonic lasing, metamaterials, and as light-management structures in thin-film optoelectronic devices. We have recently shown that noble metal hydrogel core-shell colloids allow for the fabrication of highly ordered 2-dimensional plasmonic lattices that show surface lattice resonances as the result of plasmonic/diffractive coupling (Volk, K.; Fitzgerald, J.

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Jun
2017

Interactions and phase behavior of γ-globulins are of fundamental interest in biophysical and pharmaceutical research, as these are among the most abundant proteins in blood plasma. In this work, we report the characterization of the oligomeric state of bovine γ-globulin, the effective protein-protein interactions, and the colloidal stability in aqueous solution as a function of protein concentration and ionic strength. Classical biochemical techniques, such as size exclusion chromatography (SEC) and gel electrophoresis, together with small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering (SAXS/SANS), were employed for this study.

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May
2017

Soft particles such as polymeric microgels can form ultra-dense phases, where the average center-to-center distance a s can be smaller than the initial unperturbed particle diameter σ 0, due to their ability to interpenetrate and compress. However, despite of the effort devoted to microgels at ultrahigh densities, we know surprisingly little about their response to their environment at effective volume fractions ϕ eff above close packing (ϕ cp ), and the existing information is often contradictory. Here we report direct measurements of the size and shape of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) microgels at concentrations below and above ϕ cp using the zero average contrast method in small-angle neutron scattering.

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Mar
2017

Concerns about acquisition of antibiotic resistance have led to increasing demand for new antimicrobial therapies. OligoG CF-5/20 is an alginate oligosaccharide previously shown to have antimicrobial and antibiotic potentiating activity. We investigated the structural modification of the bacterial cell wall by OligoG CF-5/20 and its effect on membrane permeability.

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May
2017

Combining chemically different building blocks in supramolecular nanoparticles is a promising key to tailored structures and functionalities. π-π heterostacks of dye molecules form upon electrostatic self-assembly with a polyelectrolyte, resulting in stable ternary nano-assemblies in aqueous solution. Core-shell spheres, cylinders, and flexible cylinders result, which exhibit new shapes different from the binary systems.

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Mar
2017

This work discusses the polyelectrolyte sodium hyaluronate (HA) and its polyelectrolyte/surfactant complexes (PESCs) with tetradecyltrimethylammonium bromide (TTAB) in the semi-dilute regime of HA and at high concentrations of TTAB. The structure and flow properties in the surfactant excess region were studied by light scattering and small angle neutron scattering (SANS) as well as by rheology. The unique behaviour of HA to maintain its high viscosity was observed even at very high TTAB concentrations of 496 mM and this effect was systematically studied in the concentration range from 1 to 25 mM HA.

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Mar
2017

Multicomponent low molecular weight gels are useful for a range of applications. However, when mixing two components, both of which can independently form a gel, there are many potential scenarios. There is a limited understanding as to how to control and direct the assembly.

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Mar
2017

We show that the same low molecular weight gelator can form gels using three different methods. Gels were formed from a high pH solution either by adding a salt or by adding an acid; gels were also formed by adding water to a solution of the gelator in an organic solvent. The mechanical properties for the gels formed by the different methods are different from one another.

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Sep
2016

Oppositely charged polyelectrolyte (PE) surfactant mixtures can self-assemble into a large variety of mesoscopic structures, so-called polyelectrolyte surfactant complexes (PESCs). These structures directly affect the macroscopic behavior of such solutions. In this study, we investigated mixtures of the cationically charged PE JR 400 and the anionic surfactant SDS with the help of different neutron scattering and fluorescence methods.

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Apr
2016

Some functionalised dipeptides can form hydrogels when salts are added to solutions at high pH. We have used surface tension, conductivity, rheology, optical, confocal and scanning electron microscopy, (1)H NMR and UV-Vis spectroscopy measurements to characterise fully the phase behaviour of solutions of one specific gelator, 2NapFF, at 25 °C at pH 10.5.

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Dec
1969

The question of the influence of nanoparticles (NPs) on chain dimensions in polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) has been treated mainly through the fundamental way using theoretical or simulation tools and experiments on well-defined model PNCs. Here we present the first experimental study on the influence of NPs on the polymer chain conformation for PNCs designed to be as close as possible to industrial systems employed in the tire industry. PNCs are silica nanoparticles dispersed in a styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR) matrix whose NP dispersion can be managed by NP loading with interfacial coatings or coupling additives usually employed in the manufacturing mixing process.

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Jan
2016

Dextrin-colistin conjugates have been developed with the aim of achieving reduced clinical toxicity associated with colistin, also known as polymyxin E, and improved targeting to sites of bacterial infection. This study investigated the in vitro ability of such dextrin-colistin conjugates to bind and modulate bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and how this binding affects its biological activity. These results showed that colistin and amylase-activated dextrin-colistin conjugate to a lesser extent induced aggregation of LPS to form a stacked bilayer structure with characteristic dimensions, although this did not cause any substantial change in its secondary structure.

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Feb
2016

The rational design of supramolecular nanoparticles by self-assembly is a crucial field of research due to the wide applications and the possibility of control through external triggers. Understanding the shape-determining factors is the key for tailoring nanoparticles with desired properties. Here, we show how the thermodynamics of the interaction control the shape of the nanoparticle.

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Feb
2016

pH can be used to tune the self-assembly of cationic polyelectrolyte dendrimers and oppositely charged dyes and to produce particles with a desired shape and size in aqueous solution. We present fundamental insight into the effect of pH on electrostatic self-assembly of poly(amidoamine) dendrimers of generation 4 and di- and trivalent anionic organic dyes. The solution pH is used as a key to turn on the interaction and to control the association by regulating the macroion charge.

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Sep
2015

The description of perturbed particle conformations needs as a prerequisite the algorithm of unperturbed chains which is outlined in Paper I [J. Chem. Phys.

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Sep
2015

Similar to uniform linear chains, the unperturbed structure of branched polymers forms the basis for the development of a theory on the effect of excluded volume interactions. A clear overview over the skeleton of such complex structures is obtained with a simplifying modification of the general branching theory. The use of probability generating functions permits a direct incorporation of essential details from the chemical synthesis in this branching theory.

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Aug
2015

Oppositely charged polyelectrolyte (PE) surfactant mixtures allow the control of rheological parameters of a solution even at fairly low concentrations. For example, addition of 0.3 wt.

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Oct
2015

Dendronization of a hyperbranched polyester with different generation dendrons leads to pseudo-dendritic structures. The hyperbranched core is modified by the divergent coupling of protected monomer units to the functional groups. Compared to dendrimers, the synthetic effort is significantly less, but the properties are very close to those of high-generation dendrimers.

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Jul
2015

DNA-complexes with platelet-like, cationically modified lipid nanoparticles (cLNPs) are studied with regard to the formation of nanocomposite structures with a sandwich-like arrangement of the DNA and platelets. For this purpose suspensions of platelet-like triglyceride nanocrystals, stabilized by a mixture of two nonionic (lecithin plus polysorbate 80 or poloxamer 188) and one cationic stabilizer dimethyldioctadecylammonium (DODAB), are used. The structure of the platelets in the native suspensions and their DNA-complexes, ranging from the sub-nano to the micron scale, is investigated with small- and wide-angle scattering (SAXS, SANS, WAXS), calorimetry, photon correlation spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy and computer simulations.

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Feb
2015

Poly(lactide-co-glycolide)-block-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLGA-PEG) nanoparticles are commonly used as drug carriers in controlled drug release and targeting. To achieve predictable and clinically relevant volumes of drug distribution, nanoparticle size, surface charge, and especially composition and structure must be controlled. Understanding the internal structures within the particles is fundamentally important to explain differences in drug loading and variations in drug release rate.

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Jan
2015

Correction for 'Structural heterogeneity of milk casein micelles: a SANS contrast variation study' by Antoine Bouchoux et al., Soft Matter, 2015, DOI: 10.1039/c4sm01705f.

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Jan
2015

Two coarsening mechanisms of emulsions are well established: droplet coalescence (fusion of two droplets) and Ostwald ripening (molecular exchange through the continuous phase). Here a third mechanism is identified, contact ripening, which operates through molecular exchange upon droplets collisions. A contrast manipulated small-angle neutron scattering experiment was performed to isolate contact ripening from coalescence and Ostwald ripening.

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Jan
2015

We examine the internal structure of milk casein micelles using the contrast variation method in Small-Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS). Experiments were performed with casein dispersions of different origins (i.e.

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Nov
2014

An orthogonal self-assembled system consists of different structures which coexist independently. Furthermore, the characteristic properties of the respective "base systems", i.e.

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Feb
2014

The formation of protein clusters as precursors for crystallization and phase separation is of fundamental and practical interest in protein science. Using multivalent ions, the strengths of both long-range Coulomb repulsion and short-range attraction can be tuned in protein solutions, representing a well-controlled model system to study static and dynamic properties of clustering during the transition from a charge-stabilized to an aggregate regime. Here, we study compressibility, diffusion, and size of solutes by means of static (SLS) and dynamic light scattering (DLS) in solutions of bovine serum albumin (BSA) and YCl3.

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May
2014

Small-angle neutron scattering was used to probe the interfacial structure of nitrogen-in-water foams created using a series of tri-block polymeric surfactants of the poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(propylene oxide)-poly(ethylene oxide) (EOx-POy-EOx) range, from which the nature of the polymeric interface could be characterised. The data follow a pronounced Q(-4) decay, along with a number of inflexions and weak but well-defined peaks. These characteristics were well-described by a model embodying paracrystalline stacks of adsorbed polymer layers, whose formation is induced by the presence of the air-water interface, adsorbed at the flat air-water (film lamellae) interface.

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Jul
2014

An increasing human population requires a secure food supply and a cost effective, oral vaccine delivery system for livestock would help facilitate this end. Recombinant antigen adsorbed onto silica beads and coated with myristic acid, was released (∼15% (w/v)) over 24 h at pH 8.8.

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Feb
2014

Monomeric bacteriorhodopsin (bR) reconstituted into POPC/POPG-containing nanodiscs was investigated by combined small-angle neutron and X-ray scattering. A novel hybrid approach to small-angle scattering data analysis was developed. In combination, these provided direct structural insight into membrane-protein localization in the nanodisc and into the protein-lipid interactions.

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Sep
2013

Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) measurements have been carried out from the multicomponent system composed of Ludox HS40 silica nanoparticle, bovine serum albumin (BSA) protein, and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) surfactant in an aqueous system under the solution condition that all the components are negatively charged. Although the components are similarly charged, strong structural evolutions among them have been observed. The complexes of different components in pairs (nanoparticle-protein, nanoparticle-surfactant, and protein-surfactant) have been examined to correlate the role of each component in the three-component nanoparticle-protein-surfactant system.

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Jul
2013

Large vesicles obtained by the extrusion method represent adequate membrane models to probe membrane dynamics with neutron radiation. Particularly, the shape fluctuations around the spherical average topology can be recorded by neutron spin echo (NSE). In this paper we report on the applicable theories describing the scattering contributions from bending-dominated shape fluctuations in diluted vesicle dispersions, with a focus on the relative relevance of the master translational mode with respect to the internal fluctuations.

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Jun
2013

Dispersions of crystalline nanoparticles with at least one sufficiently large unit cell dimension can give rise to Bragg reflections in the small-angle scattering range. If the nanocrystals possess only a small number of unit cells along these particular crystallographic directions, the corresponding Bragg reflections will be broadened. In a previous study of phospholipid stabilized dispersions of β-tripalmitin platelets [Unruh, J.

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Apr
2013

A matter of phis: The size of macromolecules is determined by the "universal calibration" based on the Flory-Fox equation (see scheme). The effect of the segmental density of real branched systems on this equation is investigated. To study this effect, accurately prepared polymers with discrete molecular properties were characterized in detail and precisely evaluated.

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Nov
2012

Microemulsions with magnetic properties were formed by employing a magnetic room temperature ionic liquid (MRTIL) as polar phase, cyclohexane as oil, and an appropriate mixture of ionic surfactant and decanol as a cosurfactant. By means of small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and electric conductivity the microemulsion structure could be confirmed, where the classical structural sequence of oil-continuous-bicontinuous-polar phase continuous is observed with increasing ratio [polar phase]/[oil]. Accordingly a maximum of the structural size is observed at about equal volumes of oil and MRTIL contained.

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Jul
2012

Microemulsions are important formulations in cosmetics and pharmaceutics and one peculiarity lies in the so-called "phase inversion" that takes place at a given water-to-oil concentration ratio and where the average curvature of the surfactant film is zero. In that context, we investigated the structural transitions occurring in Brij 96-based microemulsions with the cosmetic oil ethyl oleate and studied the influence of the short chain alcohol butanol on their structure and properties as a function of water addition. The characterization has been carried out by means of transport properties, spectroscopy, DLS, SANS, and electrochemical methods.

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May
2012

Solutions of negatively charged graphene (graphenide) platelets were produced by intercalation of nanographite with liquid potassium-ammonia followed by dissolution in tetrahydrofuran. The structure and morphology of these solutions were then investigated by small-angle neutron scattering. We found that >95 vol % of the solute is present as single-layer graphene sheets.

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Apr
2012

The design of improved polymeric carriers to be used in the next generation of polymer therapeutics is an ongoing challenge. Biodegradable systems present potential advantages regarding safety benefit apart from the possibility to use higher molecular weight (Mw) carriers allowing PK optimization, by exploiting the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR)-mediated tumor targeting. Within this context, we previously designed pH-responsive polyacetalic systems, tert-polymers, where a drug with the adequate diol-functionality was incorporated within the polymer mainchain.

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Dec
2011

Microemulsions of the type H(2)O-scCO(2)-surfactant are potential candidates for novel solvent mixtures in the field of green chemistry. Furthermore, scCO(2)-microemulsions are highly interesting from a fundamental point of view since their properties such as the bending elastic constants can be strongly influenced solely by varying the pressure without changing the components. With this motivation we studied the phase behavior and the microstructure of water-rich scCO(2)-microemulsions.

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Dec
2011

The flow of bile secretion into the human digestive system was simulated by the dilution of a bile salt-lipid micellar solution. The structural development upon the dilution of the fed state bile model FeSSIF(mod6.5) to the fasted state bile model FaSSIF(mod) was investigated by small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and dynamic light scattering (DLS) in crossed beam experiments to observe small and large structures in a size range of 1 nm to 50 μm in parallel.

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Apr
2011

In this study, the phase behavior, structure and properties of systems composed of the cationic, cellulose-based polycation JR 400 and the anionic surfactants sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate (SDBS) or sodium dodecylethoxysulfate (SDES), mainly in the semidilute regime, were examined. This system shows the interesting feature of a very large viscosity increase by nearly 4 orders of magnitude as compared to the pure polymer solution already at very low concentrations of 1 wt%. By using rheology, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), we are able to deduce systematic correlations between the molecular composition of the systems (characterized by the charge ratio Z=[+(polymer)]/[−(surfactant)]), their structural organization and the resulting macroscopic flow behavior.

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Sep
2010

In this paper we present a direct measurement of stretched chain conformation in polymer nanocomposites in a large range of deformation using a specific contrast-matched small angle neutron scatttering (SANS) method. Whatever are the filler structure and the chain length the results show a clear identity of chain deformation in pure and reinforced polymer and offer more insight on the polymer chain contribution in the mechanical reinforcement. It suggests that glassy layer or glassy paths, recently proposed, should involve only a small fraction of chains.

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Nov
2010

Understanding the gelation of liquids by low molecular weight solutes at low concentrations gives an insight into many molecular recognition phenomena and also offers a simple route to modifying the physical properties of the liquid. Bis-(α,β-dihydroxy ester)s are shown here to gel thermoreversibly a wide range of solvents, raising interesting questions as to the mechanism of gelation. At gelator concentrations of 5-50 mg ml⁻¹, gels were successfully formed in acetone, ethanol/water mixtures, toluene, cyclohexane and chloroform (the latter, albeit at a higher gelator concentration).

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Feb
2011

The bending rigidity of surfactant membranes in novel bicontinuous CO(2)-microemulsions of the type H(2)O/NaCl-scCO(2)-Zonyl FSH/Zonyl FSN 100 was determined using both high pressure small angle neutron scattering and neutron-spin echo spectroscopy. As an important result it was found, that the stiffness of the membrane increases solely by an increase of the pressure.

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Jun
2010

With a view to determining the distance between the two opposing duplexes in supercoiled DNA, we have measured small angle neutron scattering from pHSG298 plasmid (2675 base pairs) dispersed in saline solutions. Experiments were carried out under full and zero average DNA neutron scattering contrast using hydrogenated plasmid and a 1:1 mixture of hydrogenated and perdeuterated plasmid, respectively. In the condition of zero average contrast, the scattering intensity is directly proportional to the single DNA molecule scattering function (form factor), irrespective of the DNA concentration and without complications from intermolecular interference.

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Aug
2010

Variants of lipase were attached to gold nanoparticles (NPs) and their enzymatic activity was studied. The two bioengineered lipase variants have been prepared with biotin groups attached to different residues on the protein outer surface. The biotinylation was evidenced by denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and quantified by the ([2-(4'-hydroxyazobenzene)]benzoic acid spectrophotometric test.

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Apr
2010

We present an experimental study of vesicle fusion using light and neutron scattering to monitor fusion events. Vesicles are reproducibly formed with an extrusion procedure using an single amphiphile triethylene glycol mono-n-decyl ether in water. They show long-term stability for temperatures around 20 degrees C, but at temperatures above 26 degrees C we observe an increase in the scattered intensity due to fusion.

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Mar
2010

Amphiphilic dual brush diblock as well as symmetrical triblock polymers were synthesized by the overlay of the reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) and the nitroxide mediated polymerization (NMP) techniques. While poly(ethylene glycol) brushes served as hydrophilic block, the hydrophobic block was made of polystyrene brushes. The resulting "giant surfactants" correspond structurally to the established amphiphilic diblock and triblock copolymer known as macrosurfactants.

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