We employ Diffusing Wave Spectroscopy (DWS) to characterize microscopic structure, internal dynamics and rheological properties of a paradigmatic emulsion formed by water and dodecane stabilized by the anionic surfactant Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS). We focus on ageing and stability in the regime of low surfactant concentration, well below the Critical Micellar Concentration (CMC). In the long-time ageing regimes differentiate in stable and unstable, depending on surfactant concentration. For the stable case, ageing affects the dynamics following a power law with an exponent independent on surfactant concentration, presumably related to the late stages of the water drainage process. On the contrary, at constant ageing, the dependence of the dynamics from surfactant concentration shows a slowdown, corresponding to a maximum in the bulk shear mechanical modulus, around [SDS]=2mM which is reminiscent of a similar maximum found by drop tensiometry in the dilational modulus of the single interface. This suggests a consistent picture of the mechanisms (de)stabilizing the emulsion, explained in terms of elementary process at the interface. These results show furthermore that DWS can be a reliable diagnostic for the study of the aging and of the mechanical properties of concentrate emulsions. This might be relevant to control stability of emulsions when a low concentration of surfactant is desired, e.g. for economical or environment reasons.
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