Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Barbara L. Knutson


Fluorinated systems are defined by unique properties that offer advantages in drug delivery, material synthesis and industrial applications. In comparison to their hydrocarbon counterparts, the design of fluorinated solutes for tailored applications is limited by the inability to predict the effect of fluorination on phase behavior. This work examines and interprets the influence of fluorination on the phase behavior of fluorinated solutes and surfactants, with emphasis on their impact on vesicle bilayers.

Thermodynamic partitioning of functionalized series of fluorinated and hydrocarbon nicotinate prodrugs fashioned to promote solubility in a fluorocarbon solvent (perfluorooctyl bromide; PFOB) is measured. Predictive approaches are also employed to describe partitioning of these nicotinates between immiscible phases relevant to drug delivery. The findings reveal no strong correlation of the partitioning trends with biological markers of cytotoxicity and prodrug uptake for PFOB mediated delivery. However, partitioning in model membranes (liposomes), which, increases with the hydrophobicity of the perhydrocarbon nicotinates, suggests incorporation in a cellular matrix is chain length dependent.

The impact of incorporating fluorinated surfactants in catanionic vesicles, which form spontaneously in dilute aqueous solutions and serve as potential substitutes to conventional meta-stable liposome-based vesicles, is studied. Much larger isotropic vesicle regions are observed in the phase map of the partially fluorinated catanionic surfactant pair, cetylpyridinium bromide/ sodium perfluorooctanoate (CPB/SPFO) than in fully fluorinated HFDPC (1,1,2,2,-tetrahydroperfluorododecyl pyridinium chloride )/SPFO. Fluorescence probing of the vesicle bilayers suggest more fluid bilayers in CPB/SPFO than in HFDPC/SPFO due to better chain packing in the fully fluorinated bilayer. However, the vesicle region is expanded in more asymmetric fluorinated bilayers of HFDPC/SPFH (sodium perfluorohexanoate). The increased chain asymmetry in HFDPC/SPFH results in reduced packing density and more fluid bilayers than in HFDPC/SPFO.

The robustness of CPB/SPFO and HFDPC/SPFO vesicles is demonstrated in the synthesis of silica hollow spheres by templating and the retention of encapsulated solutes. Higher colloidal stability of the silica spheres is achieved in HFDPC/SPFO relative to CPB/SPFO due to the barrier effect of the fluorinated bilayer. Similarly, higher solute retention in HFDPC/SPFO is observed. The modulation of phase behavior with fluorination offers opportunities in tunable applications of fluorinated bilayers.