Ultrasound-triggered release from metal shell microcapsules

Alison L. White, Christian Langton, Marie Luise Wille, James Hitchcock, Olivier J. Cayre, Simon Biggs, Idriss Blakey, Andrew K. Whittaker, Stephen Rose, Simon Puttick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Web of Science)


Metal shell microcapsules have been shown to completely retain their core until its release is triggered, making them a promising candidate for use as a controllable drug delivery vehicle due to their superior retention properties as compared to polymer shell microcapsules. Focused ultrasound (FUS) has been successfully utilised to trigger release of lipophilic drugs from polymer microcapsules, and in this work the response of gold shell microcapsules with and without an inner polymeric shell, to FUS and standard ultrasound is explored. The results show that gold shell microcapsules with an inner polymer shell rupture when exposed to standard ultrasound and that there is a linear correlation between the gold shell thickness and the extent of shell rupture. When FUS is applied to these microcapsules, powers as low as 0.16 W delivered in bursts of 10 ms/s over a period of 120 s are sufficient to cause rupture of 53 nm gold shell microcapsules. Additional findings suggest that gold shell microcapsules without the polymer layer dispersed in a hydrogel matrix, as opposed to aqueous media, rupture more efficiently when exposed to FUS, and that thicker gold shells are more responsive to ultrasound-triggered rupture regardless of the external environment. Release of dye from all successfully ruptured capsules was sustained over a period of between 7 and 35 days. These findings suggest that emulsion-templated gold shell microcapsules embedded in a hydrogel matrix would be suitable for use as an implantable drug delivery vehicle with FUS used to externally trigger release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-452
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019


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