- Number 304 |
- February 1, 2010
Unique glass microspheres show promise for medicine, energy
Porous Walled Hollow Glass Microshere
Networks of interconnected pores in the shells of the Savannah River National Laboratory’s Porous Walled Hollow Glass Microspheres give the tiny “microballoons” unique capabilities for potential use in targeted drug delivery, hydrogen storage and other uses.
Hollow glass microspheres have been used for years in light-weight filler material, insulation, abrasives and other uses. The interconnected pores allow SRNL’s unique, patent-pending microspheres to be filled with, hold, and release gases and other materials. Each porous walled hollow glass microsphere is about 50 microns in diameter, about half the width of a human hair. Its walls, which are about 10,000 angstroms thick (an angstrom is one-tenth of one-billionth of a meter) feature pores that range from 100 to 1,000 angstroms, which allow gases and other materials to enter the tiny spheres and be stored or cycled on absorbents inside.
DOE's SRNL originally developed the unique microspheres as a solid-state storage method for hydrogen; they have been successfully demonstrated to store and release the gas.
Work since then has shown potential in other uses, including battery applications and medicine. An article by authors from the Medical College of Georgia and SRNL, which has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, discusses a possible application for the delivery of anti-cancer drugs.
A licensing agreement with specialty glass provider Mo-Sci Corporation will make the microspheres available for medical R&D and other applications, as well as providing SRNL with a cost-effective supply of the microspheres to continue research and development of additional applications.
Mo-Sci Corporation, a small business entity located in Rolla, Missouri, has been producing specialty glass materials since 1985. They currently produce glass materials to serve a variety of markets ranging from pharmaceutical to health care to space travel and automotive components. SRNL has long been recognized for its expertise in the science and engineering of glass. The laboratory developed the flowsheets and methods used in the Savannah River Site’s facility for converting high-level radioactive waste into a stable glass form.
[Eric Frickey, 803.725.0406,