Biocompatible Amphiphilic Hydrogel–Solid Dimer Particles as Colloidal Surfactants


Chen, D. ; Amstad, E. ; Zhao, C. - X. ; Cai, L. ; Fan, J. ; Chen, Q. ; Hai, M. ; Koehler, S. ; Zhang, H. ; Liang, F. ; et al. Biocompatible Amphiphilic Hydrogel–Solid Dimer Particles as Colloidal Surfactants. ACS Nano 2017, 11, 11978–11985. Copy at
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Emulsions of two immiscible liquids can slowly coalesce over time when stabilized by surfactant molecules. Pickering emulsions stabilized by colloidal particles can be much more stable. Here, we fabricate biocompatible amphiphilic dimer particles using a hydrogel, a strongly hydrophilic material, and achieve large contrast in the wetting properties of the two bulbs, resulting in enhanced stabilization of emulsions. We generate monodisperse single emulsions of alginate and shellac solution in oil using a flow-focusing microfluidics device. Shellac precipitates from water and forms a solid bulb at the periphery of the droplet when the emulsion is exposed to acid. Molecular interactions result in amphiphilic dimer particles that consist of two joined bulbs: one hydrogel bulb of alginate in water and the other hydrophobic bulb of shellac. Alginate in the hydrogel compartment can be cross-linked using calcium cations to obtain stable particles. Analogous to surfactant molecules at the interface, the resultant amphiphilic particles stand at the water/oil interface with the hydrogel bulb submerged in water and the hydrophobic bulb in oil and are thus able to stabilize both water-in-oil and oil-in-water emulsions, making these amphiphilic hydrogel–solid particles ideal colloidal surfactants for various applications.

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Last updated on 09/07/2018