Armoured nanobubbles; ultrasound contrast agents under pressure.

Journal of colloid and interface science (2018-11-14)
Muidh Alheshibri, Vincent S J Craig

Robust methods for differentiating long-lived nanobubbles from other nanoparticles are required. Evaluation of the density and compressibility of nanoparticles should enable nanobubbles to be differentiated from other nanoparticles, although the response of nanobubbles to pressure can be strongly influenced by a coating of insoluble surfactant. Here we evaluate the response of nanobubbles armoured with a coating of insoluble surfactants in order to determine if they can be differentiated from other nanoparticles. Dynamic light scattering was used to size candidate nanoparticles under the influence of external pressure and resonant mass measurements were employed to assess the density of candidate nanoparticles. The resonant mass measurement revealed a significant population of lipid-coated gas nanobubbles. These nanobubbles are proven to be gas entities, by their response to application of pressure. The pressure at which the gas within the nanobubbles condenses is shifted to higher pressure due to the mechanical resistance of the lipid shell, which shields the bubble contents from up to ∼0.8 atm. of the external pressure The presence of lipids of low solubility at the nanobubble-solution interface effectively results in a negative Laplace pressure, which stabilizes these nanobubbles against dissolution.

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Deuterium oxide, 99.9 atom % D