Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have developed an oil-in-water-in-oil double nanoemulsions via a two-step high-energy method, and their use as templates for complex nanogels comprised of inner oil droplets encapsulated within a hydrogel matrix.
Primary Application Area: Materials, Chemical
Technology Development Status: Concept
In recent years there has been growing interest in the engineering of multi-emulsions. While many techniques currently exist to create such emulsions, they are limited in many ways. For example, microfluidic methods produce multi-droplets one at a time, limiting production rates to milliliters per hour. Therefore, there is interest in creating the ability to produce nanoscale multi-emulsions, and particles from them. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have developed a process of creating multinanoemulsions. The oil-in-water-in-oil method is made from dispersing a single nanoemulsion into an outer oil phase using high-energy emulsification. Emulsion can be the final product or it can be used in the making of particles. One can put water droplets in the fat oil of salad dressing to dilute the fatty oil and create a healthier low-fat dressing. This emulsion process can also be used to create nano-sized particles making them applicable to the pharmaceutical (drug delivery) and agriculture (distributing pesticides) industries. Additionally, the emulsion process can be used to release an encapsulated particle. The release rate of particles can be controlled by adjusting the size and number of inner droplets. Furthermore, this process allows for the stabilization and separation of chemicals that share the same space.
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Value Proposition: This approach, of oil-in-water-in-oil double nanoemulsions using sequential high-energy emulsification has made it possible to create complex emulsions on the nanoscale and to use them to template particles. Prior to this technology scaling down to the nanoscale size was still a challenge. By being able to scale down to the nanoscale size one can achieve great encapsulation efficiency. Additionally, it allows stability for many hours, making ideal candidates for templating multi-phase nanoparticles. This method can be used on countless materials opening it up to a broad set of applications. It can be used in both organic and nonorganic (glass, silica, etc.) materials. The ability to create nanoscale multi-emulsions, and particles from them, therefore holds great promise in fields such as pharmaceuticals, food, agriculture, and consumer products.
Organization Type: Academic/Gov Lab