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Micellar dipole potential is sensitive to sphere-to-rod transition.


Structural transitions involving shape changes play an important role in cellular physiology. Charged micelles offer a convenient model system in which structural transitions can be suitably induced by increasing the ionic strength of the medium. In this paper, we have explored sphere-to-rod transition in charged micelles of SDS and CTAB by monitoring micellar dipole potential using the dual wavelength ratiometric approach utilizing the potential-sensitive membrane probe di-8-ANEPPS. Our results show that micellar dipole potential is sensitive to sphere-to-rod transition in charged micelles. Micellar dipole potential exhibited increase with increasing ionic strength (salt), irrespective of the nature of micellar charge, implying considerable dipolar reorganization underlying structural transitions. We interpret the increase in dipole potential due to sphere-to-rod transition because of an increase in the population of confined (nonrandom) dipoles induced by micellar organizational change. This is due to the fact that dipole potential arises due to the nonrandom arrangement of micellar dipoles and water molecules at the micelle interface. Our results constitute one of the first reports describing drastic dipolar reorganization due to micellar shape (and size) change. We envision that dipole potential measurements could provide novel insights into micellar processes that are associated with dipolar reorganization.