Behaviour of hybrid inside/out Janus nanotubes at an oil/water interface. A route to self-assembled nanofluidics?†
Imogolites are natural aluminosilicate nanotubes that have a diameter of a few nanometers and can be several microns long. These nanotubes have different chemical groups on their internal (Si–OH) and external (Al–OH–Al) surfaces, that can be easily functionalised independently on both surfaces. Here we show that taking advantage of the particular shape and chemistry of imogolite, it is possible to prepare inside/out Janus nanotubes. Two kinds of symmetric Janus nanotubes are prepared: one with an external hydrophilic surface and an internal hydrophobic cavity (imo-CH3) and one with an external hydrophobic surface and a hydrophilic internal cavity (OPA-imo). The behaviour of such inside/out Janus nanotubes at oil/water interfaces is studied. The OPA-imo adsorbs strongly at the oil/water interface and is very efficient in stabilising water-in-oil emulsions through an arrested coalescence mechanism. Imo-CH3 also adsorbs at the oil/water interface. It stabilises oil-in-water emulsions by inducing slow oil-triggered modifications of the viscosity of the continuous phase. The possible transport of small molecules inside the imo-CH3 nanotubes is evidenced, opening up routes towards self-assembled nanofluidics.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoparticles with Morphological and Functional Anisotropy