Polymerized Surfactant Vesicles: Novel Membrane Mimetic Systems

Science  02 Mar 1984:
Vol. 223, Issue 4639, pp. 888-894
DOI: 10.1126/science.223.4639.888


Vesicles formed from dialkyl surfactants containing vinyl, methacrylate, diacetylene, isocyano, and styrene groups have been stabilized by polymerization across their bilayers of head groups. Polymerized vesicles have shelf lives of many months and controllable permeabilities and sizes. The kinetics of surfactant vesicle photopolymerzation have been determined, and the mechanism of photopolymerization has been discussed as a two-dimensional surface process. Polymerized surfactant vesicles concentrate reagents in their aqueous interiors, in bilayers, and in their inner or outer surfaces. This, in turn, leads to altered reaction rates and sites. Polymerized surfactant vesicles also provide a good media for the generation, in situ, of small, uniform, and efficient colloidal catalysts.