Colloidal Cages

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Science  01 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5595, pp. 919n
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5595.919n

When two immiscible liquids are violently mixed, it is possible to obtain droplets of the minor component inside the major one, at least for short periods of time. The emulsion can be stabilized by the addition of colloidal particles, as they will aggregate at the droplet surfaces, thus lowering the surface free energy. Working with colloids with narrow particle distributions, Dinsmore et al. (p. 1006) show that the particles can be fused together to form a capsule with tailored pore sizes. The capsules can be designed to entrap drugs or cells that are then soluble in the minority component of the emulsion. Once caged, the structures are stable enough for storage or transfer to new solvent media.

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