Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Breakthrough method for making Janus or patchy capsules


Tiny capsules with different substances on their surface could be useful in medicine and materials technology

Hollow capsules that have a selectively permeable shell are promising candidates as tiny containers for molecules, particles or bubbles, and are becoming increasingly important in a wide variety of applications. But making these kinds of capsules with more than one kind of substance on their shells has been challenging – until now.

Paul Dommersnes, left, from the University of Paris, Diderot, and Jon Otto Fossum, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, were among the team that has come up with a novel way to create patchy capsules.

Credit: Photo: Per Harold Olsen

In a article in the latest edition of Nature Communications, NTNU researcher Jon Otto Fossum and Paul Dommersnes from the University of Paris, Diderot, were part of a team that showed that both Janus and more advanced patchy capsules can be assembled by combining electro-coalescence and electro-hydrodynamic flow in leaky dielectric emulsion drops. This technique can be used with any type of insulating or weakly conductive particles.

Their work is the realization of one possible direction foreseen by the same researchers in a publication in Nature Communications in 2013.

Hollow capsules with two or more substances on their surface are able to organize themselves in specific ways, which means they could be used to grow human skin or other body tissues, or to make porous tissues and composites. They can also be used to transport a variety of substances and release them in specific environments.

Janus capsules, named for the two-faced Roman god, have just two different substances in their shells. They are a sub-group of patchy capsules, which can have more than two different substances in their shells. The researchers were able to make both Janus capsules, with two different substances, and patchy capsules, which had stripes or flecks on them.

Janus and patchy capsules are distinct from Janus and patchy particles, which are solid. These capsules combine the characteristics of Janus or patchy particles, and those of capsules such as colloidosomes.

The different characteristics on the shells of the capsules make them attractive to each other in different ways, depending on the composition of the capsule shells, which means they can create scaffolds suitable for biomedical applications, for assembling electric circuits or optical structures such as photonic crystals, and as vehicles for liquid or molecular transport.

The researchers foresee that their route for designing patchy capsules will facilitate the foundation for many advanced applications, for example, by using microfluidic methods.


The article "Electroformation of Janus and patchy capsules" is in Nature Communications 5:3945 (2014), DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4945.

It is open access and can be viewed at:

Jon Otto Fossum | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: Breakthrough Janus capsule characteristics methods substances variety

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film
27.11.2015 | University of California - Berkeley

nachricht Controlling Electromagnetic Radiation by Graphene
27.11.2015 | Universität Augsburg

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Siemens to supply 126 megawatts to onshore wind power plants in Scotland

27.11.2015 | Press release

Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease

27.11.2015 | Life Sciences

Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film

27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>