The Research Group of Daniel Blankschtein performs research in the area of Colloid and Interface Science.
A broad theoretical and experimental research program in Colloid and Interface Science is being developed. Systems under study include micellar (surfactant-water) solutions; micellar solutions with solubilized hydrophobic solutes, including pharmaceutically relevant drugs; solutions of nanoparticles and surfactants, and surfactant-biomolecule and polymer-surfactant systems. The research program emphasizes the essential interplay between theory, experiment, and practical applications.
The field of Colloid and Interface Science is becoming increasingly important to a large number of industrial, environmental, biotechnological, and biomedical applications where chemical engineers can play a pivotal role. These applications include detergency, emulsification, and wetting; adhesives, coatings, and thin films; petrochemical processes; food, paint, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and photographic technologies; controlled-release of active ingredients in pharmaceuticals and consumer products; removal of trace contaminants from water sources; bioseparations; and biomedical applications including skin irritation and mitigation, and transdermal and oral drug delivery.
The theoretical component of our research involves the use of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, mean-field theory, Monte-Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations, scaling theory, transport phenomena, kinetics, and colloid and interface science.
The experimental component of our research involves use of state of the art techniques for the characterization of structured fluids. These include particle-size determination using static and dynamic light scattering, surface and interfacial tension measurements, phase diagram determination and characterization, and viscosity determination.
In addition, in the transdermal and oral drug delivery areas, we utilize permeability and conductivity measurements, confocal and two-photon fluoresence microscopy, liquid scintillation counting to assay radioactive permeants, UV/vis to assay fluorescent permeants, immunological tools which include ELISA , immunofluorescence staining, and flow cytometry, and safety-related measurements, including in vivo recovery studies, transepidermal water loss, and histology.
Current research includes:
- Molecular-thermodynamic modeling of the bulk and interfacial behavior of structured fluids.
- Computer simulations of self-assembling systems.
- Computer simulations of surfactant/polymer-induced dispersion and stabilization of carbon nanotubes and graphene in aqueous media.
- Development of user-friendly computer programs to predict bulk solution properties and interfacial properties of surfactant systems.
- Fundamental investigation of the equilibrium and kinetics of surfactant adsorption at interfaces.
- Controlled-release methodologies applied to pharmaceuticals and consumer products.
- Novel environmental and biological separations using two-phase aqueous surfactant and polymer systems, and aqueous micellar-gel systems.
- Biomedical aspects of structured fluids, including enhanced transdermal and oral drug delivery using ultrasound and chemical enhancers, and surfactant-induced skin irritation and mitigation.