Soft Colloids Using Optical Tweezers: Scientists at the Raman Research Institute (RRI) in India have developed a technique to track and manipulate minute clay particle movements within soft clay colloids using optical tweezers. This innovative method could have applications in areas such as targeted drug delivery.
The researchers used optical tweezers to study the dynamics and hidden structural details of Laponite, a synthetic clay commonly used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.
Laponite particles are monodisperse, transparent, and disk-shaped, measuring 25 to 30 nanometers in diameter and one nanometer in thickness.
Using polystyrene beads dispersed in a Laponite clay suspension, the team observed the development of microstructures over time due to electrostatic interactions between the clay particles.
The microstructures grew stronger and their network size depended on the concentration of Laponite particles, affecting the material’s elasticity.
The study, published in the journal Soft Matter, employed optical tweezers to measure the movements of the probe particles in nanometer scales. This allowed the researchers to analyze the local viscoelastic properties of the underlying medium.
Cryogenic field emission scanning electron microscopy (cryo-FESEM) was also used to examine the average pore areas formed by the Laponite microstructures.
The team found that beads trapped by the optical tweezer moved more slowly in denser network structures, revealing a direct relationship between the clay suspension structures’ morphologies and the probe particle dynamics at micrometer length scales. This discovery holds potential for advances in targeted drug delivery and other applications in the pharmaceutical industry.
In conclusion, the innovative technique developed by scientists at the Raman Research Institute, using optical tweezers to track and manipulate minute clay particle movements within soft clay colloids, has opened up new possibilities for targeted drug delivery and other pharmaceutical applications.
The direct relationship discovered between the clay suspension structures’ morphologies and the probe particle dynamics at micrometer length scales demonstrates the potential for fine-tuning and controlling the properties of colloidal systems. This breakthrough could lead to significant advancements in the development of new drug delivery methods and other applications in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.
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