Advances in Colloid and Interface Science (v.133, #1)

An overview of lipid membrane supported by colloidal particles by Anne-Lise Troutier; Catherine Ladavière (1-21).
In recent years, original hybrid assemblies composed of a particle core surrounded by a lipid shell emerged as promising entities for various biotechnological applications. Their broadened bio-potentialities, ranging from model membrane systems or biomolecule screening supports, to substance delivery reservoirs or therapeutic vectors, are furthered by their versatility of composition due to the possible wide variation in the particle nature and size, as well as in the lipid formulation. The synthesis, the characteristics, and the uses of these Lipid/Particle assemblies encountered in the literature so far are reviewed, and classified according to the spherical core size in order to highlight general trends. Moreover, several criteria are particularly discussed: i) the interactions involved between the particles and the lipids, and implicitly the assembly elaboration mechanism, ii) the most suited techniques for an accurate characterization of the entities from structural and physicochemical points of view, and iii) the remarkable properties of the solid-supported lipid membrane obtained.
Keywords: Lipids; Interface; Micro–submicro-nanoparticles; Lipid/Particle interactions; Lipid adsorption;

Reverse micelles present self-assembled multi-molecular entities formed within specific compositional ranges of water-in-oil microemulsions. The structure of a reverse micelle is typically represented as nano-sized droplet of a polar liquid phase, capped by a monolayer of surfactant molecules, and uniformly distributed within a non-polar, oil phase. Although their role in serving as primitive membranes for encapsulation of primordial self-replicating chemical cycles that anticipated the very origins of life has been proposed, their first application for ‘parent(hesis)ing’ chemical reactions with an aim to produce ‘templated’ 2D arrays of nanoparticles dates back to only 25 years ago. Reverse micelles have since then been depicted as passive nano-reactors that via their shapes template the growing crystalline nuclei into narrowly dispersed or even perfectly uniform nano-sized particles. Despite this, numerous examples can be supported, wherefrom deviations from the simple unilateral correlations between size and shape distribution of reverse micelles and the particles formed within may be reasonably implied. A rather richer, dynamical role of reverse micelles, with potential significance in the research and design of complex, self-assembly synthesis pathways, as well as possible adoption of their application as an aspect of biomimetic approach, is suggested herein.
Keywords: Colloids; Microemulsion; Nanomaterials; Reverse micelles; Review;

Multiphase flow in microfluidic systems – Control and applications of droplets and interfaces by Lingling Shui; Jan C.T. Eijkel; Albert van den Berg (35-49).
Micro- and nanotechnology can provide us with many tools for the production, study and detection of colloidal and interfacial systems. In multiphase flow in micro- and nanochannels several immiscible fluids will be separated from each other by flexible fluidic interfaces. The multiphase coexistence and the small-volume confinement provide many attractive characteristics. Multiphase flow in microfluidic systems shows a complicated behavior but has many practical uses compared to a single-phase flow. In this paper, we discuss the methods of controlling multiphase flow to generate either micro- or nano-droplets (or bubbles) or stable stratified interfaces between fluidic phases. Furthermore, applications of the droplets and interfaces in microchannels are summarized.
Keywords: Nanotechnology; Multiphase; Microfluidic; Droplets; Interfaces;

Problems of experimental determination and theoretical verification of equilibrium contact angles are discussed basing on the literature data. A relationship between the advancing and receding contact angles versus the equilibrium contact angle is described and then verified using the literature contact angles determined on paraffin wax and polypropylene. Using the proposed relationship and experimentally determined equilibrium contact angles, obtained by plotting the advancing and receding contact angles versus the contact angle hysteresis or by applying vibration of the system liquid drop/solid surface, it is found that the same value of the surface free energy for paraffin wax is calculated from the contact angles of water and ethylene glycol. However, in the case of polypropylene some inconsistency appears between the equilibrium contact angles of the probe liquid used and the calculated surface free energy. More experimental data of the equilibrium contact angle are needed to verify further the relationship.
Keywords: Equilibrium contact angle; Surface free energy;