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Design of photocontrollable polyelectrolyte-based nanoengineered container systems

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Photo-stimulated release of active agents

Controlled delivery of chemical and biological species is important to many fields, including biomedicine and the environmental sciences. Novel technology that does so in response to external light should find broad application.

Industrial Technologies

EU-funded scientists developed a system for light-stimulated release of compounds within the context of the project 'Design of photocontrollable polyelectrolyte-based nanoengineered container systems' (PHOTOCONTROL). Their light-sensitive active coatings include micro- or nanocontainers (dispensers) that release encapsulated material only upon exposure to external light. The photocatalytic particles are loaded with an active agent such as a lubricant, biocide or corrosion inhibitor. The novel encapsulation method exploits layer-by-layer electrostatic adsorption of polyelectrolyte molecules or charged nanoparticles. It is a highly efficient way to create micro- and nano-sized containers of controlled composition and permeability. Two different coating formulations have been developed. In one, an inorganic scaffold is made of the photoactive nanomaterial titanium dioxide and it is coated with the polyelectrolyte shells loaded with the active agent. In the second, an inert scaffold such as silicon dioxide is coated with a light-sensitive polyelectrolyte or nanoparticle shell. Photosensitisation of polyelectrolyte container systems is a powerful tool for controlling delivery of active compounds. It is expected to generate broad interest for applications in biotechnology, medicine and more, including incorporation in lab-on-a chip devices and remote drug delivery technology.


Active agents, photocontrollable, polyelectrolyte, nanoengineered, container system, light-sensitive, active coatings, photocatalytic, encapsulation, electrostatic adsorption, nanoparticles, inorganic scaffold, photoactive, photosensitisation

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