Journal Article In Situ Synthesis of a Supramolecular Hydrogelator at an Oil/Water Interface for Stabilization and Stimuli-Induced Fusion of Microdroplets

Nishida, Yuki  ,  Tanaka, Akiko  ,  Yamamoto, Shota  ,  Tominaga, Yudai  ,  Kunikata, Nobuaki  ,  Mizuhata, Minoru  ,  Maruyama, Tatsuo

56 ( 32 )  , pp.9410 - 9414 , 2017-08-01 , Wiley-VCH Verlag
Supramolecular hydrogels are expected to have applications as novel soft materials in various fields owing to their designable functional properties. Herein, we developed an in situ synthesis of supramolecular hydrogelators, which can trigger gelation of an aqueous solution without the need for temperature change. This was achieved by mixing two precursors, which induced the synthesis of a supramolecular gelator and its instantaneous self-assembly into nanofibers. We then performed the in situ synthesis of this supramolecular gelator at an oil/water interface to produce nanofibers that covered the surfaces of the oil droplets (nanofiber-stabilized oil droplets). External stimuli induced fusion of the droplets owing to disassembly of the gelator molecules. Finally, we demonstrated that this stimuli-induced droplet fusion triggered a synthetic reaction within the droplets. This means that the confined nanofiber-stabilized droplets can be utilized as stimuli-responsive microreactors.

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