Aggregation behaviour of triphenylphosphonium bolaamphiphiles

Francesca Ceccacci, Simona Sennato, Edoardo Rossi, Raffaele Proroga, Stefano Sarti, Marco Diociaiuti, Stefano Casciardi, Valentina Mussi, Alessia Ciogli, Federico Bordi, Giovanna Mancini, Cecilia Bombelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hypothesis: Bolaamphiphiles are characterized by wide polymorphism of their aggregates, due to the connection of the headgroups that renders their investigation very intriguing in several technological applications. Some bolaamphiphiles displaying the triphenylphosphonium motif (TPP-bolaamphiphiles) were previously explored for their ability in crossing the mitochondrial membranes but their colloidal features, which are crucial for the potential development of an effective drug delivery system, were never investigated. Experiments: Single chain TPP-bolaamphiphiles, featuring chains of 12, 16, 20 and 30 methylene units, were synthesized and their aggregation features (Krafft point, cac, dimensions, morphology, stability) were investigated by conductivity, dialysis, transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, dynamic and dielectrophoretic laser light scattering measurements. Findings: All the TPP-bolaamphiphiles spontaneously self-assemble into vesicles, independently of the chain length. The bolaamphipile with the longest chain forms monodispersed vesicles whereas for the other bolaamphiphiles two distinct populations of vesicles are observed. All vesicles are not equilibrium systems, in particular vesicles formed by the bolaamphiphiles featuring 20 and 30 methylene units result notably stable to dilution thanks to both the tightening of molecular packing at increasing chain length and the progressive reduction of the monomer percentage in U-shaped conformation. These features make these TPP-bolaamphiphiles very attractive as minor components for the development of novel mitochondriotropic liposomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-462
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Bolaamphiphiles
  • Cationic lipids
  • Extended conformation
  • Monolayer vesicles
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Thermodynamic stability
  • Triphenylphosphonium
  • U-shaped conformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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