Interfacial Microcompartmentalization by Kinetic Control of Selective Interfacial Accumulation

Qian Liu, Zhenyu Yuan, Meng Zhao, Max Huisman, Gido Drewes, Tomasz Piskorz, Serhii Mytnyk, Ger J.M. Koper, Eduardo Mendes, Jan H. van Esch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Reported here is a 2D, interfacial microcompartmentalization strategy governed by 3D phase separation. In aqueous polyethylene glycol (PEG) solutions doped with biotinylated polymers, the polymers spontaneously accumulate in the interfacial layer between the oil-surfactant-water interface and the adjacent polymer phase. In aqueous two-phase systems, these polymers first accumulated in the interfacial layer separating two polymer solutions and then selectively migrated to the oil-PEG interfacial layer. By using polymers with varying photopolymerizable groups and crosslinking rates, kinetic control and capture of spatial organisation in a variety of compartmentalized macroscopic structures, without the need of creating barrier layers, was achieved. This selective interfacial accumulation provides an extension of 3D phase separation towards synthetic compartmentalization, and is also relevant for understanding intracellular organisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23748-23754
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number52
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • interfaces
  • kinetics
  • microparticles
  • photochemistry
  • polymers


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