Pickering emulsions as templates for smart colloidosomes

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San Miguel Delgadillo, Adriana
Behrens, Sven H.
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Stimulus-responsive colloidosomes which completely dissolve upon a mild pH change are developed. pH-Responsive nanoparticles that dissolve upon a mild pH increase are synthesized by a nanoprecipitation method and are used as stabilizers for a double water-in-oil-in-water Pickering emulsion. These emulsions serve as templates for the production of pH-responsive colloidosomes. Removal of the middle oil phase produces water-core colloidosomes that have a shell made of pH-responsive nanoparticles, which rapidly dissolve above pH 7. The permeability of these capsules is assessed by FRAP, whereby the diffusion of a fluorescent tracer through the capsule shell is monitored. Three methods for tuning the permeability of the pH-responsive colloidosomes were developed: ethanol consolidation, layer-by-layer assembly and the generation of PLGA-pH-responsive nanoparticle hybrid colloidosomes. The resulting colloidosomes have different responses to the pH stimulus, as well as different pre-release permeability values. Additionally, fundamental studies regarding the role of particle surface roughness on Pickering emulsification are also shown. The pH-responsive nanoparticles were used as a coating for larger silica particles, producing rough raspberry-like particles. Partial dissolution of the nanoparticle coating allows tuning of the substrate surface roughness while retaining the same surface chemistry. The results obtained show that surface roughness increases the emulsion stability of decane-water systems (to almost twice), but only up to a certain point, where extremely rough particles produced less stable emulsions presumably due to a Cassie-Baxter wetting regime. Additionally, in an octanol-water system, surface roughness was shown to affect the type of emulsion generated. These results are of exceptional importance since they are the first controlled experimental evidence regarding the role of particle surface roughness on Pickering emulsification, thus clarifying some conflicting ideas that exist regarding this issue.
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