J-complexes of retinol formed within the nanoparticles prepared from microemulsions

C. Destrée, S. George, B. Champagne, Maxime Guillaume, J. Ghijsen, Janos B. Nagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Retinol nanoparticles have been obtained by direct precipitation of retinol in the inner water cores of AOT/heptane/water microemulsions. The retinol dissolved in chloroform was injected into the microemulsion. The diameter of the so-obtained nanoparticles was measured using transmission electron microscope pictures where the revelation was made thanks to adsorbed iodine on the nanoparticles. The size is ca 6.0 nm, and it is not dependent either on the size of the water droplets or the concentration of the retinol molecules. This phenomenon is explained by the thermodynamic stabilization of the nanoparticles at a certain size. UV-visible spectra of the nanoparticles show a new band the maximum of which has a bathochromic shift with respect to the absorption band of the retinol monomers. If the bathochromic shift is plotted as a function of the line width, a linear correlation is obtained, the line width is decreasing with increasing shift. This behavior is interpreted as being due to an excitonic transition of a J-complex. Quantum chemical calculations have been carried out to confirm the presence of J-complexes. Taking into account the various possible geometries, the results confirm the presence of J-complexes composed of three head-to-tail molecules on the average.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-30
Number of pages16
JournalColloid and Polymer Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Microemulsions
  • Nanoparticles


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