Investigations on the generation of oil-in-water (O/W) nanoemulsions through the combination of ultrasound and microchannel

Sivakumar Manickam, Kagendren Sivakumar, Cheng Heng Pang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


O/W nanoemulsions are isotropic colloidal systems constituted of oil droplets dispersed in continuous aqueous media and stabilised by surfactant molecules. Nanoemulsions hold applications in more widespread technological domains, more crucially in the pharmaceutical industry. Innovative nanoemulsion-based drug delivery system has been suggested as a powerful alternative strategy through the useful means of encapsulating, protecting, and delivering the poorly water-soluble bioactive components. Consequently, there is a need to generate an emulsion with small and consistent droplets. Diverse studies acknowledged that ultrasonic cavitation is a feasible and energy-efficient method in making pharmaceutical-grade nanoemulsions. This method offers more notable improvements in terms of stability with a lower Ostwald ripening rate. Meanwhile, a microstructured reactor, for instance, microchannel, has further been realised as an innovative technology that facilitates combinatorial approaches with the acceleration of reaction, analysis, and measurement. The recent breakthrough that has been achieved is the controlled generation of fine and monodispersed multiple emulsions through microstructured reactors. The small inner dimensions of microchannel display properties such as short diffusion paths and high specific interfacial areas, which increase the mass and heat transfer rates. Hence, the combination of ultrasonic cavitation with microstructures (microchannel) provides process intensification of creating a smaller monodispersed nanoemulsion system. This investigation is vital as it will then facilitate the creation of new nanoemulsion based drug delivery system continuously. Following this, the fabrication of microchannel and setup of its combination with ultrasound was conducted in the generation of O/W nanoemulsion, as well as optimisation to analyse the effect of varied operating parameters on the mean droplet diameter and dispersity of the nanoemulsion generated, besides monitoring the stability of the nanoemulsion. Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) images were also carried out for the droplet size measurements. In short, the outcomes of this study are encouraging, which necessitates further investigations to be carried out to advance a better understanding of coupling microchannel with ultrasound to produce pharmaceutical-grade nanoemulsions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105258
JournalUltrasonics Sonochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Cavitation
  • Microchannel
  • Nanoemulsion
  • Optimisation
  • Reactor
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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