This research proposal is aimed to investigate, by means of light scattering and other optical investigation methods, self-aggregation effects and interparticle interactions in solutions of bio-functionalized surfactants.
These compounds have an amphiphilic structure with biologically-inspired head groups (made for instance by a small number of nucleosides). As a consequence, they behave as 'smart' molecules capable of specific molecular recognition of a complementary head-group sequence, which makes them particularly appealing for the development of bio-nanotechnologies.
Indeed, by appropriate control of the chemical functionalities codified in molecular structure, bio-functionalized amphiphiles self-assembly as micellar systems, vescicles, microemulsions, 'living polymers', or chiral structures, and can be used to design host-guest complexes and systems for enzymatic confinement.
Main goal of the project is trying and establishing a link between the collective, non-specific, large-scale self-assembly phenomena that are usually investigated by soft matter scientists, and the short-range molecular specificity effects commonly seen as the driving force for association in biological fluids.
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