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Tunable Pickering Emulsions with Environmentally Responsive Hairy Silica Nanoparticles
- Liu, Min, Chen, Xiaoli, Yang, Zongpeng, Xu, Zhou, Hong, Liangzhi, Ngai, To
- ACS applied materials 2016 v.8 no.47 pp. 32250-32258
- acrylic acid, emulsifiers, emulsions, ethylene glycol, nanoparticles, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, oil-water interface, oils, pH, polyacrylic acid, polyethylene glycol, polystyrenes, silica, solvents, toluene, wettability
- Surface modification of the nanoparticles using surface anchoring of amphiphilic polymers offers considerable scope for the design of a wide range of brush-coated hybrid nanoparticles with tunable surface wettability that may serve as new class of efficient Pickering emulsifiers. In the present study, we prepared mixed polymer brush-coated nanoparticles by grafting ABC miktoarm star terpolymers consisting of poly(ethylene glycol), polystyrene, and poly[(3-triisopropyloxysilyl)propyl methacrylate] (μ-PEG-b-PS-b-PIPSMA) on the surface of silica nanoparticles. The wettability of the as-prepared nanoparticles can be precisely tuned by a change of solvent or host–guest complexation. ¹H NMR result confirmed that such wettability change is due to the reorganization of the polymer chain at the grafted layer. We show that this behavior can be used for stabilization and switching between water-in-oil (W/O) and oil-in-water (O/W) emulsions. For hairy particles initially dispersed in oil, W/O emulsions were always obtained with collapsed PEG chains and mobile PS chains at the grafted layer. However, initially dispersing the hairy particles in water resulted in O/W emulsions with collapsed PS chains and mobile PEG chains. When a good solvent for both PS and PEG blocks such as toluene was used, W/O emulsions were always obtained no matter where the hairy particles were dispersed. The wettability of the mixed polymer brush-coated silica particles can also be tuned by host–guest complexation between PEG block and α-CD. More importantly, our result showed that surprisingly the resultant mixed brush-coated hairy nanoparticles can be employed for the one-step production of O/W/O multiple emulsions that are not attainable from conventional Pickering emulsifiers. The functionalized hairy silica nanoparticles at the oil–water interface can be further linked together utilizing poly(acrylic acid) as the reversible linker to form supramolecular colloidosomes, which show pH-dependent release of cargo.