Inspired by biological design principles, a panoscopic mimic diatom was created by hierarchical self-assembly of reactive amphiphiles in a multiphase medium comprising hexadecane, ethanol, water, and hydrochloric acid. Through simple stirring at room temperature, mesolamellar macroporous capsules covering oil droplets were obtained in large quantity, which was confirmed by NMR spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and thermogravimetry. At the mesoscale, amphiphilic C16Si(OH)3 assembled into bilayer lamellae through polycondensation, hydrophobic interaction, and H bonding. At the micrometer scale, the bilayer lamellae nucleated at the interface and grew into a polar phase, thus leading to delicate microcages or mimic diatoms. Moreover, the microcages tended to interconnect and fuse into a continuous coating at the centimeter scale, which provided hydrophobicity through the micropatterned surface. This paradigm for creating hierarchical materials with multiphases could lead to new "synthetic" material technologies and novel fascinating materials with anisotropic properties. KGaA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Engineering (miscellaneous)