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J Am Chem Soc. 2011 Jul 20;133(28):10712-5. doi: 10.1021/ja202906m. Epub 2011 Jun 23.

Breaking symmetry toward nonspherical Janus particles based on polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes: molecular design, "click" synthesis, and hierarchical structure.

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College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, Department of Polymer Science, The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio 44325, USA.


The design, synthesis, and self-assembly of a series of precisely defined, nonspherical, polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS)-based molecular Janus particles are reported. The synthesis aims to fulfill the "click" philosophy by using thiol-ene chemistry to efficiently install versatile functionalities on one of the POSS cages. In such a way, both the geometrical and chemical symmetries were broken to create the Janus feature. These particles self-organize into hierarchically ordered supramolecular structures in the bulk. For example, the Janus particle with isobutyl groups on one POSS and carboxylic groups on the other self-assembles into a bilayered structure with head-to-head, tail-to-tail arrangements of each particle, which further organize into a three-dimensional orthorhombic lattice. While the ordered structure in the layers was lost upon heating via a first-order transition, the bilayered structure persisted throughout. This study provides a model system of well-defined molecular Janus particles for the general understanding of their self-assembly and hierarchical structure formation in the condensed state.


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