Supramolecular hydrogel microcapsules via cucurbituril host–guest interactions with triggered and UV-controlled molecular permeability†
Host–guest assembly in droplet-based microfluidics opens a new avenue for fabricating supramolecular hydrogel microcapsules with high monodispersity and controlled functionality. In this paper, we demonstrate a single emulsion microdroplet platform to prepare microcapsules with supramolecular hydrogel skins from host molecule cucurbituril and guest polymer anthracene-functionalized hydroxyethyl cellulose. In contrast to construction of microcapsules from a droplet-in-droplet double emulsion, here the electrostatic attraction between charged polymer and surfactant facilitates formation of defined supramolecular hydrogel skins in a single emulsion. Furthermore, by taking advantage of dynamic interactions and the tunable cross-linked supramolecular hydrogel network, it is possible to prepare microcapsules with triggered and UV-controlled molecular permeability. These could be potentially used in a delivery system for e.g. agrochemicals, nutraceuticals or cosmetics.
- This article is part of the themed collection: In memory of Chris Abell