What does it mean to electrospray a polymer?
ER: Electrospinning is a fibre-production technique that uses electric force to draw threads of polymer solutions or melts. If the polymer solution or melt is not viscous enough, tiny droplets — microbeads — may form instead of long, uniform fibres. This is called “electrospraying.”
Why is it important to be able to create these microbeads with cavities?
ER: These micron- and nano-sized cavities can potentially contribute to the controlled release of substances (e.g. drugs or catalysts) that are embedded in and carried by the microbeads.
Why are the structures shaped as they are?
ER: The porous microbead in this microscopic image has been produced via electrospraying of a ternary solution consisting of polylactic acid and two solvents. The incorporation of the second solvent results in the formation of two phases in the solution. One of these phases more rapidly evaporates during the electrospraying process, leaving behind the cavities.
How did you photograph the microbead?
ER: This image was captured using a scanning electron microscope. The sample was coated with gold/palladium using a sputter coater. The colour was added to the microbead using Photoshop to make the details more pronounced.
Where are you at with your studies?
ER: After my work at ÉTS, I plan to join a research team at McGill University, as I recently received an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship. I am pursuing an academic career and I would like to continue my research in this field (materials and tissue engineering) after becoming a faculty member.
What would winning La preuve par l’image mean to you?
ER: Winning this contest would definitely encourage me to put even more effort into this research and bring it to the next level, hopefully with real-life applications.
Why did you choose to do your research at Concordia?
ER: I did my PhD at Concordia so I would have the opportunity to work with knowledgeable supervisors whom I learned a lot from, as well as great equipment and excellent learning environments and laboratories.
Cast your vote in La preuve par l’image. The deadline is October 1, 2017.