Sculpting high aspect ratio crystals from an oil in water emulsion
Mathew Giso (U'16)
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Tufts University
High aspect ratio crystals have a wide variety of applications and there are many ways to make them. To be useful, creating these crystals needs to be easy outside of a lab setting and how the important parameters control the system needs to be well understood. The behaviors of even simple systems can be dramatically changed with a small change in the ingredients. A mixture of oil and water is simple enough. If it is cooled, you will end up with frozen droplets of oil. By adding a surfactant, a kind of soap, we can induce these oil droplets to deform as they freeze creating long crystals. It turns out these kinds of crystals are very effective for drug delivery. We simulate this process using a numerical model which can capture the freezing and deformation behavior seen in experiment. Our results reproduce the wide ranges of shapes seen in experiment and provide insight into controlling their final morphology.