Phase separation dynamics of a water/2-butoxyethanol (2BE) mixture was studied with newly developed time-resolved structured illumination microscopy (SIM). Interestingly, an employed hydrophobic fluorescent probe for SIM showed spectral shifts up to 500 ns after a laser-induced temperature jump, which suggests 2BE micellar-like aggregates become more hydrophobic at the initial stage of phase separation. This hydrophobic environment in 2BE aggregates, probably due to the ejection of water molecules, continued up to at least 10 μs. Time-resolved SIM and previously reported light scattering data clearly showed that the size of a periodic structure remained constant (ca. 300 nm) from 3 to 10 μs, and then the growth of periodic structures having the self-similarity started. We think that the former and the latter processes correspond to "early stage" (concentration growth) and "late stage" (size growth), respectively, in phase separation dynamics. Here we suggest that, in the early stage, the entity to bear 2BE phase be water-poor 2BE aggregates, and the number density of these aggregates would simply increase in time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry