Dopamine Polymerization in Liquid Marbles: A General Route to Janus Particle Synthesis

2016-03-10T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Yifeng Sheng Guanqing Sun To Ngai
Coating a liquid with a particle shell not only renders a droplet superhydrophobic but also isolates a well-confined microenvironment for miniaturized chemical processes. Previously, we have demonstrated that particles at the liquid marble interface provide an ideal platform for the site-selective modification of superhydrophobic particles. However, the need for a special chemical reaction limits their potential use for the fabrication of Janus particles with various properties. Herein, we combine the employment of liquid marbles as microreactors with the remarkable adhesive ability of polydopamine to develop a general route for the synthesis of Janus particles from micrometer-sized superhydrophobic particles. We demonstrate that dopamine polymerization and deposition inside liquid marbles could be used for the selective surface modification of microsized silica particles, resulting in the formation of Janus particles. Moreover, it is possible to manipulate the Janus balance of the particles via the addition of surfactants and/or organic solvents to tune the interfacial energy. More importantly, owing to the many functional groups in polydopamine, we show that versatile strategies could be introduced to use these partially polydopamine-coated silica particles as platforms for further modification, including nanoparticle immobilization, metal ion chelation and reduction, as well as for chemical reactions. Given the flexibility in the choice of cores and the modification strategies, this developed method is distinctive in its high universality, good controllability, and great practicability.