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How To Prepare and Stabilize Very Small Nanoemulsions

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journal contribution
posted on 01.03.2011, 00:00 by Thomas Delmas, Hélène Piraux, Anne-Claude Couffin, Isabelle Texier, Françoise Vinet, Philippe Poulin, Michael E. Cates, Jérôme Bibette
Practical and theoretical considerations that apply when aiming to formulate by ultrasonication very small nanoemulsions (particle diameter up to 150 nm) with very high stability are presented and discussed. The droplet size evolution during sonication can be described by a monoexponential function of the sonication time, the characteristic time scale depending essentially on the applied power. A unique master curve is obtained when plotting the mean diameter size evolution as a function of sonication energy. We then show that Ostwald ripening remains the main destabilization mechanism whereas coalescence can be easily prevented due to the nanometric size of droplets. The incorporation of “trapped species” within the droplet interior is able to counteract Ostwald ripening, and this concept can be extended to the membrane compartment. We finally clarify that nanoemulsions are not thermodynamically stable systems, even in the case where their composition lies very close to the demixing line of a thermodynamically stable microemulsion domain. However, as exemplified in the present work, nanoemulsion systems can present very long-term kinetic stability.