Method for preparing monodisperse microbubbles

Summary

A novel technology for producing monodisperse microbubbles ranging from a few to 200 micrometres in diameter.

The Technology and its Advantages

Microbubbles are bubbles (filled with air or other gases) with a diameter of more than 1 micrometre and less than 1 millimetre. To date the preparation of microbubbles has used methods such as mechanical agitation, sonication, electrohydrodynamic, pressurised gyration and microfluidic channels. However these methods result in microbubbles with a wide distribution of sizes and/or slow production, which is not ideal for many industrial/clinical applications.

The UCL technology uses microfluidic and electric field methods that can be fine-tuned and controlled to produce monodisperse (ie. of a uniform size) microbubbles in a fully tuneable and reproducible manner. Currently, the technology can produce monodisperse bubbles from 20 µm to 200 µm, with the scope to reduce the size even more. The methodology imposes little or no energy consumption overheads when compared to other competing technologies and is easily scalable.

Market Opportunity

Microbubbles have been employed in a diverse range of industries and these applications could be extended with a more reliable and reproducible method of producing monodisperse microbubbles.

Well-known biomedical engineering applications include use as a contrast agent for medical ultrasound imaging, or as a delivery vehicle for drugs.

In the food industry, microbubbles are introduced into a plethora of food products such as ice creams, cakes and beverages to improve texture and reduce calories.

Microbubbles have also been utilised in waste water treatment to separate out small particulate matter and/or oil from waste water.

Microbubbles can also be made to contain bioactive particles in the shell (e.g. natural curcumin) and new healthcare applications in this area are just emerging.

Different applications require microbubbles of different diameters, as summarised in the table below.

Desirable bubble size (diameter in micrometres) Application

Up to 200 Food industry

Between 10 – 200 Waste water industry

Between 4 – 50 Biomedical engineering – drug delivery, contrast agents, the coarser bubbles are for oral delivery (e.g. treatment of mouth cancers)

Intellectual Property Status

PCT application number PCT/GB2016/053497 is pending in US and Europe.

Further Information

Please contact Dr Weng Sie Wong, Senior Business Manager, Email: w.wong@uclb.com

The technology referred to herein is experimental in nature and UCL Business PLC makes no representations and gives no warranties of any kind, either express or implied, in relation to the technology and, in particular but without limiting the foregoing, UCL Business PLC gives no express or implied warranties of merchantability, satisfactory quality or fitness for a particular purpose.