Micro- and nanocapsules loaded with chemical payloads could provide a powerful tool for a wide range of industrial, medical, and commercial applications. Accordingly, the hunt is on for molecular building blocks that can be employed for the efficient, reproducible, and affordable assembly of such tiny vessels.
Colloidal silica offers a promising solution on this front. This material is a well-characterized, widely-used mainstay of the manufacturing and scientific world, and a number of research groups have demonstrated the feasibility of building colloidal silica-based capsules for the trapping and controlled release of a diverse range of cargos. This whitepaper looks at the current state of the field, the challenges remaining to be overcome, and the applications where colloidal silica encapsulation might prove most powerful.