Project Summary

Silica nanocapsules based on bio-inspired silicification

Engineered nanomaterials have attracted significant research interest during the past decades for various applications. While compared to man-made materials, precision nanomaterials inspired by nature promise to revolutionize many sectors including photonics, coatings, healthcare because of their sophisticated structure. Biocompatible core-shell nanocapsules have been developed in my lab using a patented technology - the emulsion and biomimetic dual-templating platform technology. This technology is based on the novel design of bifunctional peptides or proteins (acting as not only biosurfactants but also biomineralizing agents) by modularizing a partial sequence encoding surface activity with a series of amino acids having biosilicification ability. Oil-core silica nanocapsules were produced under mild conditions, including room temperature, neutral pH and without use of any toxic chemicals. We also demonstrated the facile loading of actives by directly dissolving them in the oil phase, followed by emulsification and biosilicification. Slow release of hydrophobic ingredients encapsulated in the oil phase can be controlled by tuning the shell thickness of the silica nanocapsules. This technology opens a new facile and environmentally friendly strategy for fabricating capsules for applications in biomedical and agricultural domains, such as slow release of active components, drug delivery with sustained release, etc. Projects are available for making various nanomaterials built upon this novel technology for slow release and triggered release of active components in biomedical and agriculture applications.

Research Group

Zhao Group


Precision nanomaterials, biomolecules, biominerlization

Available Student Projects

PhD student position available upon discussion with Dr Chun-Xia Zhao

Project members

Lead Investigator

Professor Chun-Xia Zhao

Group Leader
Zhao Group

Researchers Involved

Yue Hui

PhD Student
Zhao Group

Russell Wilson

PhD Student
Zhao Group