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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interfacial Activity of Amine-Functionalized Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxanes (POSS): A Simple Strategy To Structure Liquids.


Amine-functionalized polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS), the smallest, monodisperse cage-shaped silica cubic nanoparticle, is exceptionally interfacially active and can form assemblies that jam the toluene/water interface, locking in non-equilibrium shapes of one liquid phase in another. The packing density of the amine-functionalized POSS assembly at the water/toluene interface can be tuned by varying the concentration, the pH value, and the degree of POSS functionalization. Functionalized POSS gives a higher interface coverage, and hence a lower interfacial tension, than nanoparticle surfactants formed by interactions between functionalized nanoparticles and polymeric ligands. Hydrogen-bonded POSS surfactants are more stable at the interface, offering some unique advantages for generating Pickering emulsions over typical micron-sized colloidal particles and ligand-stabilized nanoparticle surfactants.

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