PerspectiveApplied Physics

Capsules made from prefabricated thin films

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Science  16 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6377, pp. 743
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4027

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Capsules are composed of a core, typically a liquid containing active substances, and a surrounding shell. They are used to delay the degradation of active ingredients, protect them from reacting or interacting with substances contained in the surrounding shell, or to prevent premature consumption of encapsulants (1, 2). The performance of capsules is often determined by their permeability toward encapsulants and stability against rupture; these parameters can be adjusted with the composition, structure, and thickness of the shell (3, 4). Mechanically robust capsules with a minimal permeability even toward low molecular weight substances often have rather thick shells (5). On page 775 of this issue, Kumar et al. (6) report an elegant process to fabricate capsules with very thin, rigid shells that display a low permeability even toward small encapsulants.