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!
New materials: Growing polymer pelts
19.11.2018 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Why geckos can stick to walls
19.11.2018 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences
20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy