Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Polycontinuous geometries for inverse lipid phases with more than two aqueous network domains

Schröder-Turk, Gerd E., de Campo, Liliana, Evans, Myfanwy E., Saba, Matthias, Kapfer, Sebastian C., Varslot, Trond, Grosse-Brauckmann, Karsten, Ramsden, Stuart and Hyde, Stephen T. (2013) Polycontinuous geometries for inverse lipid phases with more than two aqueous network domains. Faraday Discussions, 161 . pp. 215-247.

PDF - Published Version
Download (1MB) | Preview
Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Inverse bicontinuous cubic phases with two aqueous network domains separated by a smooth bilayer are firmly established as equilibrium phases in lipid/water systems. The purpose of this article is to highlight the generalisations of these bicontinuous geometries to polycontinuous geometries, which could be realised as lipid mesophases with three or more network-like aqueous domains separated by a branched bilayer. An analysis of structural homogeneity in terms of bilayer width variations reveals that ordered polycontinuous geometries are likely candidates for lipid mesophase structures, with similar chain packing characteristics to the inverse micellar phases (that once were believed not to exist due to high packing frustration). The average molecular shape required by global geometry to form these multi-network phases is quantified by the surfactant shape parameter, v/(al); we find that it adopts values close to those of the known lipid phases. We specifically analyse the 3etc(187 193) structure of hexagonal symmetry P63 /mcm with three aqueous domains, the 3dia(24 220) structure of cubic symmetry I 3d composed of three distorted diamond networks, the cubic chiral 4srs(24 208) with cubic symmetry P4232 and the achiral 4srs(5 133) structure of symmetry P42/nbc, each consisting of four intergrown undistorted copies of the srs net (the same net as in the QGII gyroid phase). Structural homogeneity is analysed by a medial surface approach assuming that the head-group interfaces are constant mean curvature surfaces. To facilitate future experimental identification, we provide simulated SAXS scattering patterns that, for the 4srs(24 208) and 3dia(24 220) structures, bear remarkable similarity to those of bicontinuous QGII-gyroid and QDII-diamond phases, with comparable lattice parameters and only a single peak that cannot be indexed to the well-established structures. While polycontinuous lipid phases have, to date, not been reported, the likelihood of their formation is further indicated by the reported observation of a solid tricontinuous mesoporous silicate structure, termed IBN-9, which formed in the presence of surfactants [Han et al., Nat. Chem., 2009, 1, 123].

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Copyright: 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year