Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Shapes of Things to Come: Exotic Shapes for Liquid Drops Have Many Possible Uses

Schematic shows how the application of an electrical field transforms a spherical drop clad with nanoparticle surfactants into an ellipsoid.
Schematic shows how the application of an electrical field transforms a spherical drop clad with nanoparticle surfactants into an ellipsoid.

Abstract:
Oil and water don't mix, as any chemist or cook knows. Tom Russell, a polymer scientist from the University of Massachusetts who now holds a Visiting Faculty appointment with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division, is using that chemical and culinary truth to change the natural spherical shape of liquid drops into ellipsoids, tubes and even fibrous structures similar in appearance to glass wool. Through the combination of water, oil and nanoparticle surfactants plus an external field, Russell is able to stabilize water drops into non-equilibrium shapes that could find valuable uses as therapeutic delivery systems, biosensors, microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices, or possibly as the basis for an all-liquid electrical battery.

Shapes of Things to Come: Exotic Shapes for Liquid Drops Have Many Possible Uses

Berkeley, CA | Posted on December 3rd, 2013

"Using the in situ formation of nanoparticle surfactants on a water drop that's been suspended in oil, we've demonstrated a simple route to produce and stabilize fluid drops having shapes far removed from their equilibrium spherical shape," says Russell.

In a study he carried out at UMass with Mengmeng Cui and Todd Emrick, a drop of water was suspended in silicone oil and carboxylated nanoparticles were added to the water. The nanoparticles self-assembled at the oil/water interface to form a sphere-shaped surfactant drop - like a soap bubble. Applying an electric field to the drop overcame the equilibrium energy that stabilizes its spherical shape and deformed the sphere into an ellipsoid.

Since an ellipsoid has a greater surface area than a sphere of the same volume, a great many more nanoparticles can attach themselves to it. When the electric field was removed, the nanoparticle drop tried to return to the spherical shape of its equilibrium energy. However, the swollen number of nanoparticles jammed together at the oil/water interface, essentially "gridlocking" the drop into a stable ellipsoid shape.

"You can think of it like traffic getting jammed at an exit ramp or particles of sand getting jammed in an hourglass," Russell says. "We start out by deforming a drop shaped like a basketball into a drop shaped like a football. The jamming effect locks in the football shape. If we continue the deforming and jamming process, we can create a wide assortment of shapes that are stable even though far removed from equilibrium."

In the original experiment, a drop of water was suspended in oil, but Russell says the experiment could just as easily have been done with a drop of oil suspended in water. He also says the shape deformation can be accomplished by mechanical stirring and that the degree of deformation is determined by the strength of the applied electrical field or how long and vigorously the liquid is stirred. While he and his colleagues never changed the volume of their drops in the original study, just the shape, Russell says the volume of the drops can be inflated with the addition of more liquids, or deflated with the removal of liquids.

"When you can control the shape of one liquid in another liquid and the shapes of the liquids are locked-in you can think about microfluidic devices-devices that are completely liquid inside the drop, or reactive liquid systems for packaging, delivery and storage," Russell says. "You can also conceive of batteries in which ions flow through water tubes. You might even make droplets that display really high shock resistance because they're basically a liquid surrounded by another liquid."

Russell was the corresponding author on a paper describing this work that was published in Science. The paper was titled "Stabilizing Liquid Drops in Nonequilibrium Shapes by the Interfacial Jamming of Nanoparticles." Cui and Emrick were the co-authors.

At Berkeley Lab, he will continue to develop these concepts with responsive nanoparticle surfactants, exploring the application of magnetic and ultrasonic fields to deform droplet shapes. He will capitalize on the resources of the Advanced Light Source, the Molecular Foundry and the National Center for Electron Microscopy, all DOE national user facilities hosted by Berkeley Lab.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Lynn Yarris
(510) 486-5375

Copyright © Berkeley Lab

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

For more about the research of Tom Russell, go here:

Related News Press

News and information

Halas wins American Physical Society's Lilienfeld Prize: Rice University nanoscientist honored for pioneering research in plasmonics October 23rd, 2017

GTC Shanghai Highlights GF’s Momentum in China: Company shares details of technology roadmap and customer adoption in the world’s fastest-growing market for semiconductors October 23rd, 2017

Nanobiotix completes patient inclusion for Phase II/III trial of NBTXR3 in soft tissue sarcoma October 23rd, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) October 23rd, 2017

Laboratories

Nanotube fiber antennas as capable as copper: Rice University researchers show their flexible fibers work well but weigh much less October 23rd, 2017

Spin current detection in quantum materials unlocks potential for alternative electronics October 15th, 2017

Injecting electrons jolts 2-D structure into new atomic pattern: Berkeley Lab study is first to show potential of energy-efficient next-gen electronic memory October 13th, 2017

Rice U. lab surprised by ultraflat magnets: Researchers create atom-thick alloys with unanticipated magnetic properties October 13th, 2017

Microfluidics/Nanofluidics

Using light to propel water : With new method, MIT engineers can control and separate fluids on a surface using only visible light April 25th, 2017

Nano-SPEARs gently measure electrical signals in small animals: Rice University's tiny needles simplify data gathering to probe diseases, test drugs April 17th, 2017

Particle Works creates range of high performance quantum dots February 23rd, 2017

DNA 'barcoding' allows rapid testing of nanoparticles for therapeutic delivery February 7th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nanobiotix completes patient inclusion for Phase II/III trial of NBTXR3 in soft tissue sarcoma October 23rd, 2017

Researchers bring optical communication onto silicon chips: Ultrathin films of a semiconductor that emits and detects light can be stacked on top of silicon wafers October 23rd, 2017

Nanotube fiber antennas as capable as copper: Rice University researchers show their flexible fibers work well but weigh much less October 23rd, 2017

Leti Coordinating Project to Develop Innovative Drivetrains for 3rd-generation Electric Vehicles: CEA Tech’s Contribution Includes Liten’s Knowhow in Magnetic Materials and Simulation And Leti’s Expertise in Wide-bandgap Semiconductors October 20th, 2017

Discoveries

Researchers bring optical communication onto silicon chips: Ultrathin films of a semiconductor that emits and detects light can be stacked on top of silicon wafers October 23rd, 2017

Nanotube fiber antennas as capable as copper: Rice University researchers show their flexible fibers work well but weigh much less October 23rd, 2017

A step closer to understanding quantum mechanics: Swansea University’s physicists develop a new quantum simulation protocol October 22nd, 2017

Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons October 21st, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

Strange but true: turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer October 20th, 2017

MIPT scientists revisit optical constants of ultrathin gold films October 20th, 2017

Long nanotubes make strong fibers: Rice University researchers advance characterization, purification of nanotube wires and films October 17th, 2017

The secret to improving liquid crystal's mechanical performance: Better lubricating properties of lamellar liquid crystals could stem from changing the mobility of their structural dislocations by adding nanoparticles October 13th, 2017

Announcements

Nanobiotix completes patient inclusion for Phase II/III trial of NBTXR3 in soft tissue sarcoma October 23rd, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) October 23rd, 2017

Researchers bring optical communication onto silicon chips: Ultrathin films of a semiconductor that emits and detects light can be stacked on top of silicon wafers October 23rd, 2017

Nanotube fiber antennas as capable as copper: Rice University researchers show their flexible fibers work well but weigh much less October 23rd, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Nanotube fiber antennas as capable as copper: Rice University researchers show their flexible fibers work well but weigh much less October 23rd, 2017

A step closer to understanding quantum mechanics: Swansea University’s physicists develop a new quantum simulation protocol October 22nd, 2017

Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons October 21st, 2017

Strange but true: turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer October 20th, 2017

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Strange but true: turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer October 20th, 2017

On the road to fire-free, lithium-ion batteries made with asphalt October 12th, 2017

Organic/inorganic sulfur may be key for safe rechargeable lithium batteries October 12th, 2017

How to draw electricity from the bloodstream: A one-dimensional fluidic nanogenerator with a high power-conversion efficiency September 11th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project