Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Michael D. VanAuker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Venkat R. Bhethanabotla, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Aydin K. Sunol, Ph.D.


sorbitan monoesters, encapsulation, 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein, gel exclusion chromatography, fluorometer


Niosomes are synthetic microscopic vesicles consisting of an aqueous core enclosed in a bilayer consisting of cholesterol and one or more nonionic surfactants. They are made of biocompatible, biodegradable, non-toxic, non-immunogenic and non-carcinogenic agents which form closed spherical structures (self assembly vesicles) upon hydration. With high resistance to hydrolytic degradation, niosomes are capable of entrapping many kinds of soluble drugs while exhibiting greater vesicle stability and longer shelf life.

In this work, a potential drug delivery system has been designed, synthesized and characterized. For the synthesis of niosomes, a hydration process was developed with varying design parameters such as mass per batch, angle of evaporation, rotation speed of vacuum rotary evaporator and nitrogen flowrate to produce uniform thin film in 50 ml round bottom flask. The rehydration process was developed by varying the choice of solvents (H2O, phosphate buffer solution (PBS) and PBS/5(6)-carboxyfluorescein (CF) as a drug model) and hydrating temperature of below and above gel transition temperature. Lastly, a sonication process to produce unilamellar vesicles was partially optimized based on the particle distribution and the number of vesicles formed with sonication time.

As a result of this process, unilamellar and multilamellar vesicles were formed with the combination of different nonionic surfactants (sorbitan monostearate-Span 60, sorbitan monopalmitate-Span40 and sorbitan monolaurate-Span20), cholesterol and an electrostatic stabilizer (dicetyl phosphate). The vesicles were examined using light scattering optical microscopy and UV microscopy. Optical sensing technology (Particle Sizing System) is used to determine the vesicles' size distribution. Gel exclusion chromatography (GEC) is discussed as a method to separate unencapsulated CF while retaining vesicle integrity. Particle Sizing System and luminescence spectrophotometer were used to determine CF encapsulation percentage and leakage.

Result: Span 20, Span 40 and Span 60/Niosomes were made with mean particle size of 0.95-0.99 micro (mu)m. Typical concentrations of vesicle per ml/per mass of surfactant used were in the range of 1.46-1.79x108 . Typical encapsulation efficiencies were in the range of 48.8-62.9% for all three Span/Niosome systems. Niosomes were found to be stable for 9 days. The largest vesicles were observed with Span 60 with highest entrapment efficiency as compared to Span 20 and Span 40.