emulsions

 
Emulsions are found in numerous products and industrial processes. The performance of these products and processes is tied tightly to their colloidal stability so that the interfacial structure plays a critical role. In many processes, the fluid-fluid interface is stabilized by nanosized particles or proteins that can act as a physical shell preventing drop coalescence. For charged particles, the stabilization can also be a result of electrostatic interactions. Despite the industrial relevance of these systems, the physical interactions that control their phase behavior are not very well known due to the nanoscale dimensions. We utilize a combination of scattering techniques (SAXS, SANS and light scattering) to probe the organization of nanoparticles at the emulsion interface and correlate this to their interfacial behavior. We also use time-resolved SANS to analyze how molecular transport mechanisms in emulsions are influenced by the structure and properties of their interfaces as well as the composition of the oil/water phases. 
 
 
We also make use of advanced emulsification processes to develop contrast agents used in medical imaging and in therapy. For example, we have designed ultrasound and photoacoustically active agents composed of perfluorocarbon oils and an NIR absorbing polymer shell. Such agents are being researched for the identification and treatment of blood clots using non-invasive or minimally-invasive methods.