Kotov Lab: Hedgehog Particles

Spiky “hedgehog particles” not only bear a keen resemblance to a certain spiny mammal, they also pave the way for a number of breakthroughs that could dramatically affect our environment, health systems, and technology. Hedgehog particles’ spikes allow them to disperse more uniformly in solvents with which they were previously incompatible. This makes environmentally problematic volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) used to assist in this dispersion obsolete.

The particles are modified by placing a zinc oxide seed upon the normally smooth surface of hydrophobic or hydrophilic particle which then grows into the pillars, or spikes that allow the hedgehogs to disperse evenly throughout chemicals that until now were their antagonists. This research has a wide application, its uses ranging from making hydrophobic drugs healthier to better display quality from computer and television monitors.