This review highlights the key role of NMR techniques in demonstrating the molecular aspects of the self-assembly of surfactant molecules that nowadays constitute the basic knowledge which modern nanoscience relies on. The aim is to provide a tutorial overview. The story of a rigorous scientific approach to understand self-assembly in surfactant systems and biological membranes starts in the early seventies when the progresses of SAXRD and NMR technological facilities allowed to demonstrate the existence of ordered soft matter, and the validity of Tanford approach concerning self-assembly at a molecular level. Particularly, NMR quadrupolar splittings, NMR chemical shift anisotropy, and NMR relaxation of dipolar and quadrupolar nuclei in micellar solutions, microemulsions, and liquid crystals proved the existence of an ordered polar-apolar interface, on the NMR time scale. NMR data, rationalized in terms of the two-step model of relaxation, allowed to quantify the dynamic aspects of the supramolecular aggregates in different soft matter systems. In addition, NMR techniques allowed to obtain important information on counterion binding as well as on size of the aggregate through molecular self-diffusion. Indeed NMR self-diffusion proved without any doubt the existence of bicontinuous microemulsions and bicontinuous cubic liquid crystals, suggested by pioneering and brilliant interpretation of SAXRD investigations. Moreover, NMR self-diffusion played a fundamental role in the understanding of microemulsion and emulsion nanostructures, phase transitions in phase diagrams, and particularly percolation phenomena in microemulsions. Since the nineties, globalization of the knowledge along with many other technical facilities such as electron microscopy, particularly cryo-EM, produced huge progresses in surfactant and colloid science. Actually we refer to nanoscience: bottom up/top down strategies allow to build nanodevices with applications spanning from ICT to food technology. Developments in the applied fields have also been addressed by important progresses in theoretical skills aimed to understand intermolecular forces, and specific ion interactions. Nevertheless, this is still an open question. Our predictive ability has however increased, hence more ambitious targets can be planned. Nanomedicine represents a major challenging field with its main aims: targeted drug delivery, diagnostic, theranostics, tissue engineering, and personalized medicine. Few recent examples will be mentioned. Although the real applications of these systems still need major work, nevertheless new challenges are open, and perspectives based on integrated multidisciplinary approaches would enable both a deeper basic knowledge and the expected advances in biomedical field.
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|Titolo:||From self-assembly fundamental knowledge to nanomedicine developments|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Tipologia:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|