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Amphiphilic Crescent-Moon-Shaped Microparticles Formed by Selective Adsorption of Colloids

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School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Cite this: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 14, 5516–5524
Publication Date (Web):March 21, 2011
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society

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    We use a microfluidic device to prepare monodisperse amphiphilic particles in the shape of a crescent-moon and use these particles to stabilize oil droplets in water. The microfluidic device is comprised of a tapered capillary in a theta (θ) shape that injects two oil phases into water in a single receiving capillary. One oil is a fluorocarbon, while the second is a photocurable monomer, which partially wets the first oil drop; silica colloids in the monomer migrate and adsorb to the interface with water but do not protrude into the oil interface. Upon UV-induced polymerization, solid particles with the shape of a crescent moon are formed; removal of fluorocarbon oil yields amphiphilic particles due to the selective adsorption of silica colloids. The resultant amphiphilic microparticles can be used to stabilize oil drops in a mixture of water and ethanol; if they are packed to sufficient surface density on the interface of the oil drop, they become immobilized, preventing direct contact between neighboring drops, thereby providing the stability.

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    Optical microscope and SEM images of microparticles and particle-coated oil drops are included to show their structures and surface properties. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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