Stabilization and fabrication of microbubbles: applications for medical purposes and functional materials
Microbubbles with diameters ranging from a few micrometers to tens of micrometers have garnered significant attention in various applications including food processing, water treatment, enhanced oil recovery, surface cleaning, medical purposes, and material preparation fields with versatile functionalities. A variety of techniques have been developed to prepare microbubbles, such as ultrasonication, excimer laser ablation, high shear emulsification, membrane emulsification, an inkjet printing method, electrohydrodynamic atomization, template layer-by-layer deposition, and microfluidics. Generated bubbles should be immediately stabilized via the adsorption of stabilizing materials (e.g., surfactants, lipids, proteins, and solid particles) onto the gas–liquid interface to lower the interfacial tension. Such adsorption of stabilizers prevents coalescence between the microbubbles and also suppresses gas dissolution and resulting disproportionation caused by the presence of the Laplace overpressure across the gas–liquid interface. Herein, we comprehensively review three important topics of microbubbles: stabilization, fabrication, and applications.