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J Phys Chem B. 2006 Mar 9;110(9):4329-38.

Large-scale supramolecular structure in solutions of low molar mass compounds and mixtures of liquids: I. Light scattering characterization.

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  • 1Institute of Experimental Physics, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Watsonova 47, 043 53 Kosice, Slovakia.


Static and dynamic laser light scattering were used to bring evidence of large-scale supramolecular structure in solutions of low molar mass electrolytes, nonelectrolytes, and mixtures of liquids. It was shown that solutes are distributed inhomogeneously on large length scales. Regions of higher and lower solute concentration exist in solution and give sufficient scattering contrast for experimental observation. A detailed light scattering study showed that these regions can be characterized as close-to-spherical discrete domains of higher solute density in a less dense rest of solution. These domains do contain solvent inside and can be therefore characterized as loose associates (giant clusters, aggregates). Their size distributions are significantly broad, ranging up to several hundreds of nanometers. Characteristic sizes of these inhomogenities thus exceed angstrom dimensions of individual molecules by several orders of magnitude. The number of solute molecules per domain varies approximately in the range 10(3)-10(8). Phenomena described were observed in a very broad range of solutes and solvents. Among others, selected data on most common substances of great chemical and biological importance such as sodium chloride, citric acid, glucose, urea, acetic acid, and ethanol are presented.

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