Colloids with internally structured geometries have shown great promise in applications ranging from biosensors to optics to drug delivery, where the internal particle structure is paramount to performance. The growing demand for such nanomaterials necessitates the development of a scalable processing platform for their production. Flash nanoprecipitation (FNP), a rapid and inherently scalable colloid precipitation technology, is used to prepare internally structured colloids from blends of block copolymers and homopolymers. As revealed by a combination of experiments and simulations, colloids prepared from different molecular weight diblock copolymers adopt either an ordered lamellar morphology consisting of concentric shells or a disordered lamellar morphology when chain dynamics are sufficiently slow to prevent defect annealing during solvent exchange. Blends of homopolymer and block copolymer in the feed stream generate more complex internally structured colloids, such as those with hierarchically structured Janus and patchy morphologies, due to additional phase separation and kinetic trapping effects. The ability of the FNP process to generate such a wide range of morphologies using a simple and scalable setup provides a pathway to manufacturing internally structured colloids on an industrial scale.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- block copolymer
- flash nanoprecipitation