Project TitleSelf-Assembly of Peptide Amphiphiles and Polymers into Microcapsules and Microbeads
Track CodeNU 2010-044
Short Description

Northwestern researchers have developed a novel capillary-picospray technique that may be used to generate microcapsules and microbeads using spontaneous self-assembly of peptide amphiphile molecules and high molecular weight polymers.

#therapeutics #drugdelivery


This method produces microdroplets of polymer solution droplets that are uniform in size and shape and are as small as 15 jam.  The novelty of this technique is based on the spontaneous self-assembly of molecules at a microdroplet interface using a spray/atomization technique.  The spray technique consists of a pump system (e.g. Picrospritzer), a glass capillary, and compressed gas (nitrogen or air).  The polymer is introduced from a tubing reservoir that is connected to the pump system.  The stream of polymer is atomized by the coaxial, high velocity flow of gas.  The microdroplets of polymers are converted into microbeads or microcapsules in the collecting bath and are then subsequently washed and separated using a centrifuge.   Because the technique does not require harsh physical or chemical conditions, a variety of drugs, hormones, growth factors, proteins and cells may be effectively microencapsulated in this manner.

TagsTHERAPEUTICS: drug delivery
Posted DateMar 4, 2011 6:01 PM


  • Microbead and microcapsule production for drugs, hormones, growth factors, proteins or cells


  • Inexpensive
  • Rapid and spontaneous synthesis
  • Scalable for commercial use
  • Flexible control of microcapsule size
  • Lacks use of organic solvents- Does not cause denaturation or aggregation of proteins
  • Lacks harsh physical conditions—Does not damage or destroy cells and proteins

Contact Information

Chao Zhang, Ph.D.

Invention Manager

(p) 847-491-4629



  • Patent applications filed