Uniform Non-Spherical Colloidal Particles with Tunable Shapes

Summary Background:

Non-spherical colloidal particles are useful in advanced applications beyond those that regular spherical colloidal particles exhibit. For example they are useful for modifying optical properties, controlling suspension rheology, and engineering colloidal composites. However current methods of making uniform sized particles with a controllable non-spherical shape are generally not scaleable to commercial quantities, which limits their practical application. The current invention is a method for making monodispersed colloidal particles with controllable non-spherical shapes (rod, cone, triangle, diamond) in large quantities.

Novel technology:

The invention is a new seeded polymerization technique. By controlling the cross-linking density gradients of the seed particles one can control the directionality of phase separations and thereby the shape and physical characteristics of the resulting non-spherical particles. One can make rod shaped particles where one end is hydrophilic and the other end hydrophobic. These are colloidal surfactants, which are now available for the first time in large quantities. One can make triangle, diamond or cone shapes by starting with a dumbbell shaped particle with different cross-linking densities (same or different) in the two portions.

Commercial Applications:

One area where the non-spherical particles will have commercial applications is in personal care products. Colloidal surfactants are useful for stabilizing large droplets for personal care, such droplets are often more effective than smaller droplets. Colloidal surfactants should be useful for stabilizing emulsions for food applications and in particular should be less toxic than current surfactants. Triangular and diamond shaped colloidal particles are useful to control rheological properties of suspensions; in particular for lowering viscosity. . Advantages:

• Allows access to colloidal particles with shapes with many unique and useful applications

• For the first time gives access to industrial scale quantities of uniformly sized non-spherical colloidal particles

Intellectual Property Status: A provisional patent application has been filed by Harvard University.

Publications: “Synthesis of Nonspherical Colloidal Particles with Anisotropic Properties”, Jin-Woong Kim, Ryan J. Larsen and David A. Weitz, J.A.C.S .128, 14374-14377 (2006)

Applications complex fluids, personal care For Further Information Please Contact the Director of Business Development Daniel Behr Email: daniel_behr@harvard.edu Telephone: (617) 495-3067

Inventor(s): Weitz, David A.

Type of Offer: Licensing

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