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Light and Magnetic Dual-Responsive Pickering Emulsion Micro-Reactors

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posted on 17.11.2017, 00:00 by Chun-Yan Xie, Shi-Xin Meng, Long-Hui Xue, Rui-Xue Bai, Xin Yang, Yaolei Wang, Zhong-Ping Qiu, Bernard P. Binks, Ting Guo, Tao Meng
Emulsion droplets can serve as ideal compartments for reactions. In fact, in many cases, the chemical reactions are supposed to be triggered at a desired position and time without change of the system environment. Here, we present a type of light and magnetic dual-responsive Pickering emulsion microreactor by coadsorption of light-sensitive titania (TiO2) and super paramagnetic iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles at the oil–water interface of emulsion droplets. The droplets encapsulating different reactants in advance can be driven close to each other by an external magnetic field, and then the chemical reaction is triggered by UV illumination due to the contact of the isolated reactants as a result of droplet coalescence. An insight into the incorporation of hydrophobic TiO2 and hydrophilic Fe3O4 nanoparticles simultaneously at the emulsion interface is achieved. On the basis of that, an account is given of the coalescence mechanism of the Pickering emulsion microreactors. Our work not only provides a novel Pickering emulsion microreactor platform for triggering chemical reactions in a nonintrusive and well-controlled way but also opens a promising avenue to construct multifunctional Pickering emulsions by assembly of versatile building block nanoparticles at the interface of emulsion droplets.