Nanoemulsions: formation, properties and applications
Nanoemulsions are kinetically stable liquid-in-liquid dispersions with droplet sizes on the order of 100 nm. Their small size leads to useful properties such as high surface area per unit volume, robust stability, optically transparent appearance, and tunable rheology. Nanoemulsions are finding application in diverse areas such as drug delivery, food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and material synthesis. Additionally, they serve as model systems to understand nanoscale colloidal dispersions. High and low energy methods are used to prepare nanoemulsions, including high pressure homogenization, ultrasonication, phase inversion temperature and emulsion inversion point, as well as recently developed approaches such as bubble bursting method. In this review article, we summarize the major methods to prepare nanoemulsions, theories to predict droplet size, physical conditions and chemical additives which affect droplet stability, and recent applications.