3/2/17 Researchers at the University of Illinois used humidifier technology to create tiny silicone microspheres for targeted drug delivery.
Scientists have struggled with making silicone into microspheres due to its tendency to adhere and produce large spheres. So why bother? Silicone is a useful material to use due to its unique combination of properties. It is heat resistant, waterproof, biocompatible and chemically stable.
To overcome the obstacle of adherence, the University of Illinois researchers used a technique called ultrasonic spray pyrolysis, which employs technology found in household humidifiers to create a mist of ultrafine droplets. A mist containing all the ingredients of silicone is sent 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.
These microspheres were then made with a variety of properties for different applications, including colored, fluorescent and magnetic spheres. Because the spheres are bio-inert, the researchers believe they will be excellent vessels for extended-release pharmaceuticals. They are also exploring potential applications of solid, hollow and magnetic microspheres.
As we have said in many of our blogs, the advancement in micro technology is rapidly developing and the uses of these advancements are endless. This technology has improved many parts of our lives from our health to the handheld electronics we use. Without these advancements we would not be living in the world we are enjoying today.