Living polynucleotides formed by the spontaneous aggregation of dilauroylphosphonucleosides
This contribution concerns a structural investigation of dilauroylphosphonucleoside aggregates in aqueous solutions as a function of ionic strength and surfactant concentration. A micellar growth in the axial direction to form worm-like aggregates is observed as the surfactant concentration is increased, until the system shows a distinct viscoelastic behavior, which suggests the presence of a polymer-like network. Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) allows the structural properties of such micellar networks to be inferred below and above the threshold concentration of entanglement. A merging of SANS and SLS data in fact provides a spectral window corresponding to all the relevant length scales of the system in the direct space. These worm-like aggregates are characterized in terms of cross-sectional radius, persistence length and overall molar mass, while the micellar network can be described by its mesh size.