Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Proven Particles

Ouzo helps 'bake' perfect supraparticles, which could one day be used in drug delivery

28 February 2019

Proven Particles

It’s easy to peel biscuits from a sheet of baking paper – each has a curve around its flat bottom where fat has greased the base. Similar physics shaped these ‘supraparticles’, each 100 times smaller than an Amaretti biscuit, yet made from a blob of nanoparticles mixed with a secret ingredient – the Greek spirit Ouzo. As water and alcohol in the mixture evaporate, anise oil – which gives Ouzo its aniseed flavour – lubricates the base of the particle. Each perfect macaroon-like shape can be lifted away without the risk of sticking or 'pinning' which might otherwise spoil its structure. Tweaking the balance of oil in the mixture creates different hollows within the porous particles, which could soon be piped full of drug compounds for delivery inside the body.

Written by John Ankers

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