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Highly Porous Magnetic Janus Microparticles with Asymmetric Surface Topology

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posted on 14.10.2020, 16:48 by Ruqaiya Al Nuumani, Stoyan K. Smoukov, Guido Bolognesi, Goran T. Vladisavljević
Monodispersed magnetic Janus particles composed of a porous polystyrene portion and a nonporous poly­(vinyl acetate) portion with embedded oleic acid-coated magnetic nanoparticles were generated using microfluidic emulsification followed by two distinct phase separation events triggered by solvent evaporation. The template droplets were composed of 2 wt % polystyrene, 2 wt % poly­(vinyl acetate), and 0.5–2 wt % n-heptane-based magnetic fluid dissolved in dichloromethane (DCM). The porosity of polystyrene compartments was the result of phase separation between a nonvolatile nonsolvent (n-heptane) and a volatile solvent (DCM) within polystyrene-rich phase. The focused ion beam cross-sectioning and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging revealed high surface porosity of polystyrene compartments with negligible porosity of poly­(vinyl acetate) parts, which can be exploited to increase the wettability contrast between the two polymers and enhance bubble generation in bubble-driven micromotors. The porosity of the polystyrene portion was controlled by varying the fraction of n-heptane in the dispersed phase. The particle composition was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry. The fabricated particles were successfully magnetized when subjected to an external magnetic field, which led to their aggregation into regular 2D assemblies. The particle clusters composed of two to four individual particles could be rotated with a rotating magnetic field. Microfluidic generation of highly porous Janus particles with compositional, topological, and magnetic asymmetry provides a cost-effective, easy-to-implement yet highly robust and versatile strategy for the manufacturing of multifunctional smart particles.