Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is usually known as the scientific discipline devoted to the control and manipulation of matter from submicron scale to the molecular level. It is an interdisciplinary assembly of diverse fields of natural sciences that are highly specialized. The continuing evolution of this field is making borders between disciplines begin to fade.

At present, the microscopic-sized particles are an area of ​​intense research. The number of publications has suffered an exponentially growth, making possible a development of many applications among which we can highlight biomedical research or chemicals, textile, pharmaceutical, mechanical, agricultural, food, cosmetic, controlled release drugs, bioengineering, …. Particulary, medicine and food industry continuosly demands the development of nanotechnology in the field of encapsulation: Vitamins, proteins, antioxidants, … due to its fragility, need to be supplied protected by a shell.

There is a wide range of techniques that make possible to obtain particles of micro and nanometric size. One technique which in recent years has generated much interest in many fields of technology is the atomization using electro-hydrodynamic forces because it enables the synthesis of a variety of materials in form of micro and nanoparticles having a good monodispersity of sizes.

One way of electro-hydrodynamic atomization is the electrospray. This technique consist of extruding a liquid through a needle subjected to an electric field. If the liquid contains solid precursors dissolved, the fine spray produced by this technique, as breaks into droplets or filaments, will lead us to collect particles or fibers, respectively, when the liquid coantained had completely been removed by evaporation or due to a phase change.

Nanospheres and nanofibers may also be obtained and  by generating electrified coaxial jets. The capsules can be hollow/filled spheres, hollow/coaxial fibers.

Electrospray technique has some disadvantages: to synthesize an appreciable mass is essential to scale the process operating simultaneously a large number of needles into a single system. A key task in the research and development of this technique is to give answer to that question.

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