In this contribution, we present the silica microencapsulation of hydrophilic compounds by templating Pickering emulsion droplets without contamination of the dispersed phase by either the catalyst or the silica precursor. This is accomplished by the use of an amphiphilic catalyst, which situates around the Pickering emulsion droplets and directs the reaction to the interface. Both the silica precursor and the amphiphilic catalyst are soluble in the oil phase and therefore initially do not reside in the hydrophilic microcapsule templates. The thickness of the capsules can be tuned by adjusting the amount of precursor. Thus, the permeability of the capsules can in principle be controlled. The possibility of tuning the permeability holds promise for a variety of applications of the microcapsules. Because of the straightforward synthesis method and minimized mixing of the core with contaminants, the technique is potentially suitable for the encapsulation of delicate matter including live organisms, drugs, enzymes or bacteria.
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