Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 13, Issue 9, pp 4109–4120 | Cite as

Self-assembling process of flash nanoprecipitation in a multi-inlet vortex mixer to produce drug-loaded polymeric nanoparticles

  • Hao Shen
  • Seungpyo Hong
  • Robert K. Prud’homme
  • Ying Liu
Research Paper


We present an experimental study of self-assembled polymeric nanoparticles in the process of flash nanoprecipitation using a multi-inlet vortex mixer (MIVM). β-Carotene and polyethyleneimine (PEI) are used as a model drug and a macromolecule, respectively, and encapsulated in diblock copolymers. Flow patterns in the MIVM are microscopically visualized by mixing iron nitrate (Fe(NO3)3) and potassium thiocyanate (KSCN) to precipitate Fe(SCN) x (3−x)+ . Effects of physical parameters, including Reynolds number, supersaturation rate, interaction force, and drug-loading rate, on size distribution of the nanoparticle suspensions are investigated. It is critical for the nanoprecipitation process to have a short mixing time, so that the solvent replacement starts homogeneously in the reactor. The properties of the nanoparticles depend on the competitive kinetics of polymer aggregation and organic solute nucleation and growth. We report the existence of a threshold Reynolds number over which nanoparticle sizes become independent of mixing. A similar value of the threshold Reynolds number is confirmed by independent measurements of particle size, flow-pattern visualization, and our previous numerical simulation along with experimental study of competitive reactions in the MIVM.


Reynolds number Supersaturation Competitive kinetics Nucleation and growth Micellization Micromixing Synthesis Colloids 



We thank Dr. Hayat Onyuksel at University of Illinois at Chicago for providing Dynamic Light Scattering for the measurements of nanoparticle sizes.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hao Shen
    • 1
  • Seungpyo Hong
    • 2
  • Robert K. Prud’homme
    • 3
  • Ying Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biopharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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