Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




TECH SPACE
Tiny silicone spheres come out of the mist
by Staff Writers
Champaign IL (SPX) May 14, 2015


Illinois chemists developed a method to make tiny silicone microspheres using misting technology found in household humidifiers. The spheres could have applications in targeted medicine and imaging. Image courtesy Kenneth Suslick.

Technology in common household humidifiers could enable the next wave of high-tech medical imaging and targeted medicine, thanks to a new method for making tiny silicone microspheres developed by chemists at the University of Illinois.

Led by chemistry professor Kenneth Suslick, the researchers published their results in the journal Advanced Science.

Microspheres, tiny spheres as small as a red blood cell, have shown promise as agents for targeted drug delivery to tissues, as contrast agents for medical imaging, and in industrial applications.

One prime contender as a material for microspheres is silicone, the rubbery plastic found in everything from bathtub caulk to kitchenware to medical implants, but a method of making silicone into microspheres has eluded scientists.

Silicone owes its versatility to its unique combination of properties: It is biocompatible, heat resistant, chemically stable, waterproof and environmentally benign. Yet some of those same qualities have frustrated researchers attempting to make silicone microspheres. The traditional microsphere-making method of suspending tiny droplets of material in another liquid does not work with silicone.

"For silicone, creating a stable emulsion of small droplets is very difficult," Suslick said. "Even if a stable emulsion is achieved, you run into even bigger problems when it is heated, which is necessary to polymerize into solid spheres. Upon heating, small droplets of silicone starting material will coalesce with other droplets and produce only bigger spheres."

The Illinois team uses a technique called ultrasonic spray pyrolysis, which employs technology found in household humidifiers to create a mist of ultrafine droplets. Suslick's group has pioneered the technique for a variety of materials, and teamed up with U. of I. chemistry professor Catherine Murphy to tackle the problem of silicone.

The researchers send a mist containing all the ingredients of silicone through a heated tube, which solidifies the mist into tiny spheres of silicone. Because the droplets are all separate within the mist, they don't stick together like they do in an emulsion, so the resulting microspheres are roughly 100 times smaller than any previously reported.

The researchers made silicone microspheres with a variety of properties for different applications, including colored, fluorescent and magnetic spheres. Because the spheres are bio-inert - they do not react with chemicals in the body - and the researchers believe they would be excellent vessels for extended-release pharmaceuticals. They are also exploring potential applications of solid, hollow and magnetic microspheres.

"The applications for silicone microspheres, to date, have been almost entirely speculative, simply because no one has been able to actually make them," said Jacqueline Rankin, the lead graduate student on this project. "With this new method, silicone microspheres can be easily and readily synthesized, facilitating the exploration of technologies that have only been speculated upon and creating novel technologies and new science in a number of scientific disciplines."

The paper, "Magnetic, Fluorescent, and Copolymeric Silicone Microspheres," is available online here

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TECH SPACE
Researchers match physical and virtual atomic friction experiments
Philadelphia PA(SPX) May 08, 2015
Technological limitations have made studying friction on the atomic scale difficult, but researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Merced, have now made advances in that quest on two fronts. By speeding up a real atomic force microscope and slowing down a simulation of one, the team has conducted the first atomic-scale experiments on friction at overla ... read more


TECH SPACE
NASA's LRO Moves Closer to the Lunar Surface

European Space Agency Director Wants to Set Up a Moon Base

Russia Invites China to Join in Creating Lunar Station

Japan to land first unmanned spacecraft on moon in 2018

TECH SPACE
Technique for finding signs of life on the Red Planet

Mystery Methane on Mars: The Saga Continues

Auroras on Mars

Quick Detour by NASA Mars Rover Checks Ancient Valley

TECH SPACE
Russia races to replace Sarah Brightman as space tourist

Photonic Laser Thruster Propels Simulated Spacecraft

Potentially Revolutionary Mission Heading for 2016 Launch

High-tech Analysis of Orion Heat Shield Underway

TECH SPACE
3D printer making Chinese space suit parts

Xinhua Insight: How China joins space club?

Chinese scientists mull power station in space

China completes second test on new carrier rocket's power system

TECH SPACE
ISS Partners Adjust Spacecraft Schedule

Samantha's longer stay on ISS

Italian astronaut shows how to use restroom on ISS online

Russia delays return of ISS crew members after supply ship failure

TECH SPACE
Report: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket certified to fly NASA missions

DirecTV-15 and SKY Mexico-1 integrated for Ariane 5 heavy-lift mission

Russia to Launch US Comms Satellite Into Space

Fifth Vega takes shape for its flight with Sentinel-2A

TECH SPACE
Weather forecasts for planets beyond our solar system

Astrophysicists offer proof that famous image shows forming planets

Astronomers detect drastic atmospheric change in super Earth

New exoplanet too big for its star

TECH SPACE
Researchers develop artificial membranes with programmable surfaces

Tiny silicone spheres come out of the mist

OPALS Boosts Space-to-Ground Optical Communications Research

Patria Space unit now part of RUAG




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.