|433. Gröschel, A.H.; Walther, A.; Löbling, T.; Schmelz, J.; Hanisch, A.; Schmalz, H.; Müller, A.H.E.: Facile, Solution-Based Synthesis of Soft, Nanoscale Janus Particles with Tunable Janus Balance, Journal of the American Chemical Society 134, 13850 (2012) -- DOI: 10.1021/ja305903u|
We present a novel, versatile, and simple solution-based routine to produce soft, nanosized Janus particles with tunable structural and physical properties at high volume yield. This process is based on the cross-linking of compartments within precisely defined multicompartment micelles (MCMs), which are themselves formed by the self-assembly of ABC triblock terpolymers. Therein, the C blocks form the stabilizing corona emanating from B compartments, which in turn reside on an A core. Cross-linking of the B compartments allows to permanently fixate the phase-separated state and dissolution in a good solvent for all blocks breaks up the MCMs into single Janus particles. They now consist of a core of cross-linked B blocks and two phase-separated hemispheres of A and C. The process gives access to unprecedented structural features such as tunable core diameter and control over the Janus balance ranging from dominant A side to equal hemispheres to dominant C side. We demonstrate that this simple one-pot approach can be extended to a range of triblock terpolymers with different block lengths and block chemistries to furnish a library of tailor-made Janus particles with widely tunable physical properties. Such a diversity and simplicity has remained unreachable with our previously developed approach using the controlled cross-linking of bulk morphologies. We show that this new synthetic route can be upscaled to a high volume yield of 10 wt %, thereby enabling large-scale applications. We further demonstrate the effect of the Janus balance on colloidal self-assembly. Janus particles with a dominant hydrophobic and a small hydrophilic patch aggregate into large clusters in water, but merely di- or trimerize in chloroform.