Decyl-, dodecyl-, and tetradecyltrimethylammonium cations were combined with the catalytic polyoxometalate [PW12O40]3− anion to give spherical and monodisperse nanoparticles that are able to stabilize emulsions in the presence of water and an aromatic solvent. This triphasic liquid/solid/liquid system, based on a catalytic surfactant, is particularly efficient as a reaction medium for epoxidation reactions that involve hydrogen peroxide. The reactions proceed at competitive rates with straightforward separation of the phases by centrifugation. Such catalytic “Pickering” emulsions combine the advantages of heterogeneous catalysis and biphasic catalysis without the drawbacks (e.g., catalyst leaching or separation time).
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