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Chin. Phys. B, 2018, Vol. 27(3): 030505    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/27/3/030505
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Hydrophobic nanochannel self-assembled by amphipathic Janus particles confined in aqueous nano-space

Gang Fang(方钢)1,2,3, Nan Sheng(盛楠)1, Tan Jin(金坦)2, Yousheng Xu(许友生)4, Hai Sun(孙海)5, Jun Yao(姚军)5, Wei Zhuang(庄巍)2, Haiping Fang(方海平)1
1 Division of Interfacial Water and Key Laboratory of Interfacial Physics and Technology, Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201800, China;
2 State Key Laboratory of Structural Chemistry, Fujian Institute of Research on Structure of Matters, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fuzhou 350002, China;
3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
4 School of Light Industry, Zhejiang University of Science and Technology, Hangzhou 310023, China;
5 School of Petroleum Engineering, China University of Petroleum(East China), Qingdao 266555, China

Hydrophobic nanochannel plays a significant role in many physical, biological, and geological phenomena and exhibits impressive applications due to both its ubiquitous distribution and great ability to transport hydrophobic molecules, including various oils and gases. Based on theoretical modeling, we herein reveal that the amphipathic Janus nanoparticles have a large probability to self-assemble into uninterrupted hydrophobic nanochannels inside the aqueous nano-space, although there are large portions of the Janus nanoparticles to be hydrophilic. The key to this observation is the attractions between the hydrophobic regimes on neighboring amphipathic Janus particles through hydrophobic interaction in aqueous nano-space. More surprisingly, the permeation efficiency of hydrophobic molecules through the uninterrupted hydrophobic channel in Janus particles aggregate is even higher than that in the aggregate of hydrophobic particles. We note that the proposed amphipathic Janus particles can be transported to the appropriate positions by the water since the hydrophilic regimes still remain a strong particle-water interaction. We also note that most natural subsurface rocks are not completely hydrophobic or hydrophilic but have complex surfaces with inhomogeneous wetting property. Our work therefore provides a detailed molecular level understanding of the formation of underground strata as well as the new insight for constructing the artificial hydrophobic channels for various applications, such as the design of proppants to enhance the recovery of the unconventional oil/gas.

Keywords:  amphipathic Janus particle      self-assembly      uninterrupted hydrophobic channel      water blockage  
Received:  19 September 2017      Revised:  06 December 2017      Accepted manuscript online: 
PACS:  05.65.+b (Self-organized systems)  
  05.60.-k (Transport processes)  
  83.10.Rs (Computer simulation of molecular and particle dynamics)  

Project supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDB10040304), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51490654, 11290164, and U1262109), and the Key Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. KJZD-EW-M03).

Corresponding Authors:  Jun Yao, Wei Zhuang, Haiping Fang     E-mail:;;

Cite this article: 

Gang Fang(方钢), Nan Sheng(盛楠), Tan Jin(金坦), Yousheng Xu(许友生), Hai Sun(孙海), Jun Yao(姚军), Wei Zhuang(庄巍), Haiping Fang(方海平) Hydrophobic nanochannel self-assembled by amphipathic Janus particles confined in aqueous nano-space 2018 Chin. Phys. B 27 030505

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