The formation of micelles of hexadecyltrimethylammonium chloride (CTAC) and sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS) in aqueous solutions containing charged polysaccharides was studied by steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence measurements using pyrene as a photophysical probe. Micropolarity studies using the
I1/I3 ratio of the vibronic emission bands of pyrene and the behaviour of the
IE/IM ratio between the excimer and monomer emissions show the formation of hydrophobic domains. The interactions between the polyelectrolytes and surfactants of opposite charge lead to the formation of induced pre-micelles at surfactant concentrations lower than the critical micellar concentration (cmc) of the surfactants. At similar concentrations, the
IE/IM ratio shows a peak. This aggregation process is assumed to be due to electrostatic attractions. At higher surfactant concentrations, near the critical micellar concentration, micelles with the same properties as those found in pure aqueous solution are formed. On the other hand, systems containing polyelectrolytes and surfactants of the same charge do not show this behaviour at low concentrations. The presence of long alkyl chains bound to the polyelectrolytes also induces the formation of free micelles at concentrations somewhat below the aqueous cmc.