Special Issue "Advances in Microreactor Devices for Biomedicine, Nanoparticle Synthesis, Catalysis and Energy Processes"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Electronic Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Victor Sebastian
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and Aragon Nanoscience Institute, University of Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: manoscience; catalyst; molecules

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Microreactors are defined as miniaturized reaction systems fabricated using microtechnology and precision engineering methods. However, the term “microreactor” is the name that is generally used to describe a wide variety of devices that have small dimensions that are further classified according to their complexity, integration level, physical and chemical principles and the fields of application. Reducing the dimensions of the reaction system under the millimeter scale favors rapid reaction rates and minimizes the heat and mass transport limitations that usually limits conventional reactor systems.

Over the past decade, microreactor technology has evolved from simple devices for basic chemical transformations to more complex systems for a great number of applications in the fields of catalysis, energy processes, nanomaterial production, biomedicine and sensors. The use of microreactor devices enables us to perform reactions with an unprecedented control over mixing, mass- and heat-transfer, safety, reaction residence time and other process parameters, which results in enhanced reproducibility. In addition, they allow us to utilize extreme reaction conditions, which are far from the common laboratory practice (e.g., high temperature, pressure, and reactant concentration), in a safe and reliable fashion. In microreactors, the reaction rates can be accelerated by orders of magnitude and the reaction times shrink from hours to minutes and seconds. Microreactor devices are key contributors to chemical discovery and development, for instance by the well-known continuous flow chemistry. Continuous-flow chemistry is a relatively new field that has rapidly gained ground in the last couple of years. The use of microreactor devices has received a lot of attention, as these devices provide novel and unprecedented opportunities for synthetic chemists with regard to reaction safety, mixing efficiency, and reproducibility.

The low energy densities of even state of the art batteries are a major hindrance to the lengthy use of portable consumer electronics and portable equipment. Much ongoing research is therefore focused on developing microsystem generators that can take advantage of the high energy density of the fuels, while being both portable and producing sufficiently high power levels. The small size of microreactors allows for their easier transportation and rapid, on-site installation in contrast to large, centralized stations.

The functionality of nanomaterials depends on their dimensions, shape and chemical composition. This implies that attaining the desired dimensions and composition through controlled synthesis is the key to retaining the properties that make these materials functional. The continuous-flow synthesis of functional nanomaterials not only paves the way to achieving consistency in properties, but is also scalable and yet decentralized, providing it with flexible on-site, on-demand production.

Microreactor technology has played a fundamental role in biomedicine, where all types of drugs, both hydrophobic and hydrophilic, and small molecules, proteins and nucleic acids, can be encapsulated into the nanoengineered carriers. Microreactor devices can also be used for local drug delivery. Wearable or implantable microreactor devices can be loaded with drugs and can precisely control the release of payloads in a sustained or stimuli-responsive manner. Microreactors are a valuable tool in tissue engineering, promoting the migration, proliferation and differentiation of cells in controlled situations. Finally, the so-called micro-total-analysis-systems (μ-TAS) or lab-on-chip (LOC), are a vital influence for clinical and environmental diagnostics.

This Special Issue on “Advances in Microreactor Devices for Biomedicine, Nanoparticle Synthesis, Catalysis and Energy Processes” is a timely approach to survey recent progress in the area of microreactor devices and their applications. The articles presented in this Special Issue will cover various topics, ranging from the application of microreactor devices in biomedicine (drug delivery, nanovector production, tissue engineering, and diagnostics), nanomaterial production (inorganic, organic, and hybrid nanomaterials), catalysis (new reaction approaches and flow chemistry) and energy processes (process intensification and new microreactor designs). In this context, the research published in this issue will offer a unique glimpse of what has been achieved and what remains to be explored in micoreactor technology.

It is my pleasure to invite you to submit a manuscript to this Special Issue. Full papers, communications, and reviews are all welcome.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Victor Sebastian
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Microreactor design
  • Biomedicine
  • Drug delivery
  • Tissue engineering
  • Nanomaterial production
  • Catalysis
  • Flow chemistry
  • Scale-up
  • Energy process

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Modular Millifluidic Platform for the Synthesis of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles with Control over Dissolved Gas and Flow Configuration
Materials 2020, 13(4), 1019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13041019 - 25 Feb 2020
Abstract
Gas–liquid reactions are poorly explored in the context of nanomaterials synthesis, despite evidence of significant effects of dissolved gas on nanoparticle properties. This applies to the aqueous synthesis of iron oxide nanoparticles, where gaseous reactants can influence reaction rate, particle size and crystal [...] Read more.
Gas–liquid reactions are poorly explored in the context of nanomaterials synthesis, despite evidence of significant effects of dissolved gas on nanoparticle properties. This applies to the aqueous synthesis of iron oxide nanoparticles, where gaseous reactants can influence reaction rate, particle size and crystal structure. Conventional batch reactors offer poor control of gas–liquid mass transfer due to lack of control on the gas–liquid interface and are often unsafe when used at high pressure. This work describes the design of a modular flow platform for the water-based synthesis of iron oxide nanoparticles through the oxidative hydrolysis of Fe2+ salts, targeting magnetic hyperthermia applications. Four different reactor systems were designed through the assembly of two modular units, allowing control over the type of gas dissolved in the solution, as well as the flow pattern within the reactor (single-phase and liquid–liquid two-phase flow). The two modular units consisted of a coiled millireactor and a tube-in-tube gas–liquid contactor. The straightforward pressurization of the system allows control over the concentration of gas dissolved in the reactive solution and the ability to operate the reactor at a temperature above the solvent boiling point. The variables controlled in the flow system (temperature, flow pattern and dissolved gaseous reactants) allowed full conversion of the iron precursor to magnetite/maghemite nanocrystals in just 3 min, as compared to several hours normally employed in batch. The single-phase configuration of the flow platform allowed the synthesis of particles with sizes between 26.5 nm (in the presence of carbon monoxide) and 34 nm. On the other hand, the liquid–liquid two-phase flow reactor showed possible evidence of interfacial absorption, leading to particles with different morphology compared to their batch counterpart. When exposed to an alternating magnetic field, the particles produced by the four flow systems showed ILP (intrinsic loss parameter) values between 1.2 and 2.7 nHm2/kg. Scale up by a factor of 5 of one of the configurations was also demonstrated. The scaled-up system led to the synthesis of nanoparticles of equivalent quality to those produced with the small-scale reactor system. The equivalence between the two systems is supported by a simple analysis of the transport phenomena in the small and large-scale setups. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Photocatalytic Microporous Membrane against the Increasing Problem of Water Emerging Pollutants
Materials 2019, 12(10), 1649; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12101649 - 21 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Emerging pollutants are an essential class of recalcitrant contaminants that are not eliminated from water after conventional treatment. Here, a photocatalytic microporous membrane based on polyvinylidene difluoride-co-trifluoroethylene (PVDF−TrFE) with immobilised TiO2 nanoparticles, prepared by solvent casting, was tested against representative emerging pollutants. [...] Read more.
Emerging pollutants are an essential class of recalcitrant contaminants that are not eliminated from water after conventional treatment. Here, a photocatalytic microporous membrane based on polyvinylidene difluoride-co-trifluoroethylene (PVDF−TrFE) with immobilised TiO2 nanoparticles, prepared by solvent casting, was tested against representative emerging pollutants. The structure and composition of these polymeric membranes were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, porosimetry, and contact angle goniometry. The nanocomposites exhibited a porous structure with a uniform distribution of TiO2 nanoparticles. The addition of TiO2 did not change the structure of the polymeric matrix; however, it increased the wettability of the nanocomposite. The nanocomposites degraded 99% of methylene blue (MB), 95% of ciprofloxacin (CIP), and 48% of ibuprofen (IBP). The microporous nanocomposite exhibited no photocatalytic efficiency loss after four use cycles, corresponding to 20 h of UV irradiation. The reusability of this system confirms the promising nature of polymer nanocomposites as the basis for cost-effective and scalable treatments of emerging pollutants. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Continuous Ultrasonic Reactors: Design, Mechanism and Application
Materials 2020, 13(2), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13020344 - 11 Jan 2020
Abstract
Ultrasonic small scale flow reactors have found increasing popularity among researchers as they serve as a very useful platform for studying and controlling ultrasound mechanisms and effects. This has led to the use of these reactors for not only research purposes, but also [...] Read more.
Ultrasonic small scale flow reactors have found increasing popularity among researchers as they serve as a very useful platform for studying and controlling ultrasound mechanisms and effects. This has led to the use of these reactors for not only research purposes, but also various applications in biological, pharmaceutical and chemical processes mostly on laboratory and, in some cases, pilot scale. This review summarizes the state of the art of ultrasonic flow reactors and provides a guideline towards their design, characterization and application. Particular examples for ultrasound enhanced multiphase processes, spanning from immiscible fluid–fluid to fluid–solid systems, are provided. To conclude, challenges such as reactor efficiency and scalability are addressed. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Microflow nanoprecipitation of gastroresistant polymer nanoparticles of Eudragit RS100: A study of fluid dynamics and chemical parameters

Cristina Yus, Manuel Arruebo, Silvia Irusta, Victor Sebastián*

University of Zaragoza

 

Photocatalytic microporous membrane against the increasing problem of water emerging pollutants

P.M. Martins, J.M. Ribeiro, S. Teixeira , D. Y.Petrovykh,G. Cuniberti, L. Pereira, S. Lanceros-Méndez*

Centre of Physics of University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal

 

Synthesis of iron oxide nanoparticles for magnetic hyperthermia in a segmented flow reactor and reducing environment

Panariello, G. Wu, K. Loizou, M. Besenhard, A. Gavriilidis

UCL Department Of Chemical Engineering,London

 

Ultrasonic microreactors: design, mechanism and application

Zhengya Dong, Claire Delacour, Aniket Udepurkar, Simon Kuhn

KU Leuven, Department of Chemical Engineering

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