Structured Spheres Generated by an In-Fibre Fluid Instability

Technology #15704

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Figure 1: Fluid capillary instabilities in multimaterial fibres as a route to size-tunable particle fabrication.Figure 2: Scalable fabrication of micro- and nano-scale spherical particles.Figure 3: Polymer-core/glass-shell spherical particle fabrication.Figure 4: Broken-symmetry Janus particle and ‘beach ball’ particle fabrication.
Professor Yoel Fink
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
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Professor Steven Johnson
Department of Mathematics, MIT
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Daosheng Deng
Xiangdong Liang
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Dave Sossen
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

In-Fiber Particle Generation

US Patent Pending US 2013-0202888

In-Fiber Particle Generation

US Patent Pending

In-Fiber Particle Generation

US Patent Pending
Structured spheres generated by an in-fibre fluid instability
Nature, 26 July 2012, Nature 487, 463–467


This invention is used in a variety of applications such as drug delivery, chemical and biological catalysis and cosmetics.

Problem Addressed

Bottom-up approaches for forming particles are limited by particle coalescence and agglomeration during particle growth. Therefore, there is a need for efficient particle fabrication over a wide range of sizes, from a variety of materials, and in many different structures.  


This invention harnesses the inherent scalability of fiber production and in-fiber Plateau-Rayleigh capillary instability for the fabrication of uniformly sized, structure spherical particles spanning an exceptionally wide range of sizes.  Composite and spherical particles are produced by arranging a variety of structures and materials in a macroscopic scaled-up model of the fiber. These particles can include core-shell particles, two-compartment 'Janus' particles, and multi-sectioned 'beach ball' particles. 


  • The particles could span an exceptionally wide range of sizes (from 2 millimeters down to 20 nanometers)
  • Highly efficient process