Gelled Non-Toxic Bicontinuous Microemulsions as Novel Drug Delivery Systems

Gelled complex fluids


Gelling microemulsions is a novel approach to generating nanostructured gels.[1] The gel network provides the mechanical stability, while the entrapped nanostructures provide an additional function, e.g. as reservoir for drugs of different polarities.[2] The focus will be on non-irritating, bio-compatible gels. Our system of choice is a quaternary, temperature-insensitive system consisting of water – oil – surfactant – co-surfactant. To meet the criteria for bio-compatibility the following compounds can be used: oil = isopropylmyristat (IPM), surfactant = APGs, co-surfactant = geraniol or octane-1,2-diol.[3] Bio-compatible gelators will be provided by TU Delft and designed such that orthogonal self-assembled systems form. The challenges are to (a) find out whether orthogonality is achieved; (b) adjust the rheological behaviour via the gelator concentration or via an alignment of the fibers; (c) align gel fibers by growing them in an external field. We will characterise the systems via phase diagram studies, rheology, electron microscopy, DSC, and NMR self-diffusion measurements. In addition, for selected samples small angle neutron and X-ray scattering (SANS, SAXS) as well as dynamic and static light scattering (DLS, SLS) measurements will be carried out, while high-resolution microscopy will be used in cooperation with Université Bordeaux. Once the systems are fully characterised their suitability as (transdermal) drug delivery systems will be tested in cooperation with an industrial partner (BDF, Hamburg).

gelled ME
Figure 1 Schematic representation of a gelled bicontinuous microemulsion [4].


[1] Studying orthogonal self-assembled systems: phase behaviour and rheology of gelled microemulsions, M. Laupheimer, K. Jovic, F. E. Antunes, M. da Graça Martins Miguel, C. Stubenrauch, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 3661–3670.

[2] Gelled Complex Fluids: Combining Unique Structures with Mechanical Stability, C. Stubenrauch, F. Gießelmann, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 3268-3275;

[3] Sugar surfactants – aggregation, interfacial, and adsorption phenomena, C. Stubenrauch, Curr. Opin. Colloid Interface Sci., 2001, 6, 160-170.

[4] Gelled bicontinuous microemulsions: a new type of orthogonal self-assembled systems, M.Laupheimer, University of Stuttgart, 2013.


This picture showsCosima Stubenrauch
Prof. Dr.

Cosima Stubenrauch

Dean of Faculty

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