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Swelling-Induced Symmetry Breaking: A Versatile Approach to the Scalable Production of Colloidal Particles with a Janus Struc...

by Jichuan Qiu, Zitao Chen, Miaofang Chi, Younan Xia
Publication Type
Journal Name
Angewandte Chemie International Edition
Publication Date
Page Numbers
12980 to 12984

Janus particles are widely sought for applications related to colloidal assembly, stabilization of emulsions, and development of active colloids, among others. Here we report a versatile route to the fabrication of well-controlled Janus particles by simply breaking the symmetry of spherical particles with swelling. When a polystyrene (PS) sphere covered by a rigid shell made of silica or polydopamine is exposed to a good solvent for PS, a gradually increased pressure will be created inside the shell. If the pressure becomes high enough to poke a hole in the shell, the spherical symmetry will break while pushing out the swollen PS through the opening to generate a Janus particle comprised of two distinct components. One of the components is made of PS and its size is controlled by the extent of swelling. The other component is comprised of the rigid shell and remaining PS, with its overall diameter determined by the original PS sphere and the rigid shell. This solution-based route holds promises for the scalable production of complex Janus particles with a variety of compositions and in large quantities.