Nano Research

Article Title

Hollow micro- and nano-particles by gas foaming


hollow, nanoparticles, microparticles, gas foaming


This paper presents the results of a first successful attempt to produce hollow micro- and nano-particles of a large variety of materials, dimensions, shapes and hollow attributes by using an environmentally friendly and cheap technology, common in polymer processing and known as gas foaming. The central role played by ad hoc polymeric hollow micro- and nano-particles in a variety of emerging applications such as drug delivery, medical imaging, advanced materials, as well as in fundamental studies in nanotechnology highlights the wide relevance of the proposed method. Our key contribution to overcome the physical lower bound in the micro- and nano-scale gas foaming was to embed, prior to foaming, bulk micro- and nano-particles in a removable and deformable barrier film, whose role is to prevent the loss of the blowing agent, which is otherwise too fast to allow bubble formation. Furthermore, the barrier film allows for non-isotropic deformation of the particle and/or of the hollow, affording non-spherical hollow particles. In comparison with available methods to produce hollow micro- and nano-particles, our method is versatile since it offers independent control over the dimensions, material and shape of the particles, and the number, shape and open/closed features of the hollows. We have gas- foamed polystyrene and poly-(lactic-co-glycolic) acid particles 200 μm to 200 nm in size, spherical, ellipsoidal and discoidal in shape, obtaining open or closed, single or multiple, variable in size hollows.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press