Liquid-in-liquid emulsions are kinetically stable colloids that undergo liquid-to-gas phase transitions in response to thermal or acoustic stimuli. Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) are preferred species as their highly fluorinated nature imparts unique properties that are unparalleled by nonfluorinated counterparts. However, traditional methods to prepare PFC emulsions lack the ability to precisely tune the thermodynamic stability of the fluorous-water interphase and consequently control their vaporization behavior. Here, we report a privileged fluoroalkanoic acid that undergoes concentration-dependent assembly on the surfaces of fluorous droplets to modulate interfacial tension. This allows for the rational formulation of orthogonal PFC droplets that can be programmed to vaporize at specified ultrasound powers. We exploit this behavior in two exemplary biomedical settings by developing emulsions that aid ultrasound-mediated hemostasis and enable bioorthogonal delivery of molecular sensors to mammalian cells. Mechanistic insights gained from these studies can be generalized to tune the thermodynamic interfacial equilibria of PFC emulsions toward designing controllable tools for precision medicine.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)