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Materials

Watching micelles fuse in real time

Imaging technique captures motion of soft matter at nanoscale

by Kerri Jansen
December 19, 2017

Credit: N. Gianneschi/JACS/C&EN
 

Micelles—soft nanospheres of assembled surfactant molecules—have shown promise as vehicles for drug delivery. But what we know about how micelles form and grow comes from static images or from light-scattering methods, which don’t observe the process directly. Now, an international team led by Nathan Gianneschi of Northwestern University demonstrates that liquid-cell transmission electron microscopy can directly image the motion of micelles at the nanoscale (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b09060). Watch this video to see how micelles in solution interact, morph, and grow.

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