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Nanoparticle Surfactants for Structured Liquid Processing

Bicontinuous structure of two immiscible liquids locked in placed by the jamming of nanoparticle surfactants at the interface between the liquids. A schematic is shown in the lower image.

Scientific Achievement
Produced the first sub-micron, shape-persistent, all-liquid bicontinuous structures using interfacial formation, assembly and jamming of nanoparticles surfactants (NPSs).

Significance and Impact
Such tortuous, kinetically-trapped, interconnected structures, termed "bijels", can be realized with any two immiscible liquids by a simple homogenization, rather than thermally-induced spinodal decomposition.

Research Details

  • NPSs were produced at immiscible liquid interfaces using functional NPs in one liquid and complementary end-functionalized polymers in the second.
  • Very versatile strategy using wide range of NPs and polymers that is scalable.
  • NPSs assemblies are completely fluid, adaptable and responsive to external stimuli.

C. Huang, J. Forth, W. Wang, K. Hong, G. Smith, B.A. Helms and T. P. Russell, Nature Nanotechnology (2017) DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2017.182