Research ArticleMATERIALS SCIENCE

Quick liquid packaging: Encasing water silhouettes by three-dimensional polymer membranes

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  24 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaat5189
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat5189

Abstract

One of the most important substances on Earth is water. It is an essential medium for living microorganisms and for many technological and industrial processes. Confining water in an enclosed compartment without manipulating it or by using rigid containers can be very attractive, even more if the container is biocompatible and biodegradable. Here, we propose a water-based bottom-up approach for facile encasing of short-lived water silhouettes by a custom-made adaptive suit. A biocompatible polymer self-assembling with unprecedented degree of freedom over the water surface directly produces a thin membrane. The polymer film could be the external container of a liquid core or a free-standing layer with personalized design. The membranes produced have been characterized in terms of physical properties, morphology and proposed for various applications from nano- to macroscale. The process appears not to harm cells and microorganisms, opening the way to a breakthrough approach for organ-on-chip and lab-in-a-drop experiments.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text