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Self-Propelled Vesicles Induced by the Mixing of Two Polymeric Aqueous Solutions through a Vesicle Membrane Far from Equilibrium

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posted on 29.02.2016, 00:00 by Takahiko Ban, Takashi Fukuyama, Shouta Makino, Erika Nawa, Yuichiro Nagatsu
This study describes the development of self-propelled vesicles using transient interfacial energy in an aqueous two-phase system composed of polyethylene glycol (PEG), dextran (DEX), and water. The transient interfacial energy was generated at the mixing boundary between the PEG and DEX solutions when the two miscible liquids were in contact with each other far from equilibrium. Vesicles encapsulating 20 wt % DEX solution traveled spontaneously when the PEG concentration in the environmental media was >15 wt %. The motility of the vesicles varied with the permeability of the vesicle membrane. The permeability increased significantly when the concentration of PEG was >15 wt %. PEG had a profound effect not only on mass transfer through the membrane but also on the motility of the vesicles.