The fluorescence emission of <i>p</i>-dimethylaminochalcone (DMAC) has been monitored in β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTMAB) or sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS) mixture. In the presence of a fixed amount of β-CD, a peak-shaped variation is observed in the curve of DMAC fluorescence intensity vs. surfactant concentration below critical micelle concentration (cmc). The peak height is dependent on β-CD concentration, and no peak is noted in the absence of β-CD. Such a peak-shaped variation in DMAC fluorescence emission is shown to be direct evidence for β-CD-induced aggregation of the surfactant below cmc in aqueous solution. The 1:1 surfactant/β-CD inclusion complex is the hydrophobic source inducing the aggregation.

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