Researchers show how to make polymeric micro- and nanoparticles

July 9, 2007

Researchers in the College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara have discovered how to make polymeric micro- and nanoparticles in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes using commonly-available lab chemicals and equipment. Knowing how to create these particles in the average laboratory environment will facilitate further discovery, as the particles are essential to understanding the role of shape in particle function.

Their research is published in today’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Polymeric micro- and nanoparticles are used in a wide range of applications including medical imaging, drug delivery, and beauty and personal care products. These applications typically use spherical particles. While making particles in other shapes could be extremely useful, fabricating shapes other than spheres has been technically challenging.

The research team, led by Samir Mitragotri, a professor of chemical engineering, with Julie Champion, a graduate student, and Yogesh Katare, a post-doctoral researcher, used spherical polystyrene beads as a starting point. In one approach, the beads were liquefied by heat or solvents and then stretched. In the second, the beads were embedded in a polyvinyl alcohol film and the film was stretched to create voids around the beads. These voids were then filled by liquefying the beads using heat or solvent. From these two simple techniques, more than 20 different shapes were formed, ranging from simple rods and eggs to lenses, diamonds, food-shaped ravioli and tacos.

The methods used to create the potpourri of micro- and nanoparticles allow the researchers to control the size and shape of the particles created, a crucial factor in the development of nonspeherical particles in a variety of fields, including drug delivery, microbiology, advanced materials and rheology. This research was funded by the NIH program of excellence in nanotechnology.

Source: University of California - Santa Barbara

Explore further: How to 3-D print your own sonic tractor beam

Related Stories

How to 3-D print your own sonic tractor beam

January 3, 2017

Last year Asier Marzo, then a doctoral student at the Public University of Navarre, helped develop the first single-sided acoustic tractor beam—that is, the first realization of trapping and pulling an object using sound ...

Recommended for you

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires

January 19, 2017

A simple technique for producing oxide nanowires directly from bulk materials could dramatically lower the cost of producing the one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures. That could open the door for a broad range of uses in lightweight ...

Creating atomic scale nanoribbons

January 19, 2017

Silicon crystals are the semiconductors most commonly used to make transistors, which are critical electronic components used to carry out logic operations in computing. However, as faster and more powerful processors are ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.