Mechanism of Dissociation Kinetics in Polyelectrolyte Complex Micelles

28 August 2019, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Polyelectrolyte-based nanoscale self-assemblies, such as micelles, possess diverse desirable attributes such as capability for sequestering and protecting biomacromolecules against inhospitable environments, responsiveness to external stimuli, and tunability of physical behavior. However, little is known on the mechanisms of dissociation when micelles encounter and respond to environmental changes. Using salt-jump, time-dependent, light scattering, the pathway of dissociation is observed in polyelectrolyte complex micelles that have complex cores and neutral coronas. The micelle dissociation kinetics appear to be a three-staged process, in good agreement with the scattering data. Using kinetic models of amphiphilic block copolymer micelles in polyelectrolyte complexation-driven micelles, we derive an analytical expression for dissociation relaxation rates as a function of solvent temperature, salt concentration, and the length of the charged polymer blocks. The theoretical predictions are compatible with the experimental data from light scattering experiments. This study demonstrates experimentally the relaxation kinetics of polyelectrolyte complex micelle dissociation and illustrates the underlying mechanism governing the dissociation kinetics. It is anticipated that these findings can be generalized to other electrostatic interaction-driven self-assemblies to better understand the relationship among the kinetics of dissociation, constituent polymer properties, and environmental parameters.


polyelectrolyte complex micelles
dissociation kinetics
time-resolved scattering
polyelectrolyte theory


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.