Fabrication of spherical and worm-shaped micellar nanocrystals by combining electrospray, self-assembly, and solvent-based structure control

Xinyi Ding, Yuxiang Sun, Yanming Chen, Wanchuan Ding, Steven Emory, Tianhao Li, Zixing Xu, Ning Han, Jun Wang, Gang Ruan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Micellar nanocrystals (micelles with encapsulated nanocrystals) have become an emerging major class of nanobiomaterials. We describe a method of fabricating micellar nanocrystals based on combining top-down electrospray, bottom-up self-assembly, and solvent-based structure control. This method involves first using electrospray to generate uniform ultrafine liquid droplets, each of which functions as a micro-reactor in which self-assembly reaction occurs forming micellar nanocrystals, with the structures (micelle shape and nanocrystal encapsulation) controlled by the organic solvent used. This method is largely continuous and produces high quality micellar nanocrystal products with an inexpensive structure control approach. By using a water-miscible organic solvent tetrahydrofuran (THF), worm-shaped micellar nanocrystals can be produced due to solvent-induced/facilitated micelle fusion. Compared with the common spherical micellar nanocrystals, worm-shaped micellar nanocrystals can offer minimized non-specific cellular uptake, thus enhancing biological targeting. By co-encapsulating multiple nanocrystals into each micelle, multifunctional or synergistic effects can be achieved. Current limitations of this fabrication method, which will be part of the future work, primarily include imperfect encapsulation in the micellar nanocrystal product and the incompletely continuous nature of the process.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere56657
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number132
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemistry
  • Electrospray
  • Issue 132
  • Magnetic nanoparticle
  • Micelle
  • Multifunction
  • Nanomaterial
  • Nanoparticle
  • Quantum dot
  • Solvent
  • Targeting
  • Worm

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