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MIE Assistant Professor Sushant Anand and his research associates have had multiple breakthroughs with their work on oil-water mixtures or "emulsions." Now, the researchers have taken their research to a new level by creating ultra-small (100-400 nm in sizes) nanoemulsions formed by self-assembly of nanoparticles around droplets.
The traditional way to make nanoemulsions has multiple steps, but Anand and his team have developed a single-step technique for creating nanoemulsions that is faster, more energy efficient, and smaller. The results of the research were recently published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces journal under the title Synthesizing Pickering Nanoemulsions by Vapor Condensation.
Nanotechnology - Role - Problems - Today - Time
"Nanotechnology has a huge role to play in dealing with many problems in today's time. Take oil-water emulsions as an example. Going 'nano' with droplet sizes can make huge difference in the shelf-life of many emulsion based products like cosmetics, food products, drug delivery, and many multi-billion dollar industries. Typically surfactant molecules are used to prevent drops from coming together. But such molecules can have adverse effects in many cases. So, there is a growing interest in making surfactant-free nanoparticle stabilized emulsions," said Anand.
The challenge the team faced was making nanoparticle-based, nano-droplet emulsions, which are called Pickering emulsions. "Making such emulsions with droplets in nanoscales has been a really big challenge for many decades," observed Anand.
Work - Nature - Communications - Anand - Collaborators
In a previous work published in Nature Communications, Anand and his collaborators at MIT previously showed that they could create nanoemulsions where the droplets were stabilized by surfactants. Anand and his students wondered whether the new technique could potentially be used to make Pickering nanoemulsions, so they went on to find that out.
"Emulsions can be made by many different ways, but unfortunately what works for surfactants, does not necessarily works with nanoparticles. So there was no guarantee that we would succeed," added Dong Jin Kang,...
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