A microfluidic approach to micromembrane synthesis for complex release profiles of nanocarriers†
Physically crosslinked microscale biomembranes synthesized from pure chitosan are designed and demonstrated for pH-triggered release of embedded functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles. Nanoparticle-loaded membranes are formed in a microfluidic channel at the junction between accurately controlled co-flowing streams to achieve highly tuneable membrane properties. After formation, the loaded membranes remain stable until contact with physiological acidic conditions, resulting in controlled nanoparticle release. Furthermore, nanoparticle-loaded membranes with complex layered architectures are synthesized using different flow schemes, thus enabling customized nanoparticle release profiles. These novel materials are well-suited for integration within small medical devices as well as off-chip applications.