Issue 21, 2022

Non-covalent reconfigurable microgel colloidosomes with a well-defined bilayer shell


Microgels are extremely interfacially active and are widely used to stabilize emulsions. However, they are commonly used to stabilize oil-in-water emulsions due to their intrinsic hydrophilicity and initially dispersed in water. In addition, there have been no attempts to control microgel structural layers that are formed at the interface and as a result it limits applications of microgel in advanced materials. Here, we show that by introducing octanol into poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-methacrylic acid) (PNIPAM-co-MAA) microgels, octanol-swollen microgels can rapidly diffuse from the initially dispersed oil phase onto the water droplet surface. This facilitates the formation of microgel-laden interfacial layers with strong elastic responses and also generates stable inverse water-in-oil Pickering emulsions. These emulsions can be used as templates to produce microgel colloidosomes, herein termed ‘microgelsomes’, with shells that can be fine-tuned from a particle monolayer to a well-defined bilayer. The microgelsomes can then be used to encapsulate and/or anchor nanoparticles, proteins, vitamin C, bio-based nanocrystals or enzymes. Moreover, the programmed release of these substances can be achieved by using ethanol as a trigger to mediate shell permeability. Thus, these reconfigurable microgelsomes with a microgel-bilayer shell can respond to external stimuli and demonstrate tailored properties, which offers novel insights into microgels and promise wider application of Pickering emulsions stabilized by soft colloids.

Graphical abstract: Non-covalent reconfigurable microgel colloidosomes with a well-defined bilayer shell

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Edge Article
21 Feb 2022
25 Apr 2022
First published
26 Apr 2022
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Sci., 2022,13, 6205-6216

Non-covalent reconfigurable microgel colloidosomes with a well-defined bilayer shell

X. Guan, Y. Liu, Z. Wan, Y. Steve Tse and T. Ngai, Chem. Sci., 2022, 13, 6205 DOI: 10.1039/D2SC01082H

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity