Bijels the Easy Way
Spinodal decomposition is not the only way to make a bijel. Indeed, while spinodal decomposition produces structures with a potentially useful morphology, it can be challenging to make bijels using this method and the resulting systems can be hard to process and manipulate. Furthermore, exploiting the functional properties of the assembled particle monolayer is extremely challenging. In this chapter, we show how the assembly of nanoparticle surfactants at the liquid–liquid interface can be used to kinetically trap liquids into a wealth of complex structures without using spinodal decomposition. We apply liquid three-dimensional printing and moulding methods, along with patterned substrates with controllable wetting properties, to build all-liquid devices with applications in chemical synthesis, separation, and purification. The functional properties of the assembled nanomaterials can be exploited to produce interfacially structured liquids that are plasmonically and magnetically responsive. Finally, we conclude by arguing that, while the field shows great promise, efforts need to be made to translate liquid bicontinuous systems out of the laboratory and into meaningful, real-world applications, as well applications in more ‘exotic’ disciplines, such as synthetic biology.