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Automated System Produces and Characterizes Microcapsules Continuously
August 11, 2011

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Innovators at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) have patented an apparatus and method to produce and concurrently characterize multilayered, liquid-filled microcapsules. The Pulse-Flow Microencapsulation System (PFMS) uses an online measurement system to identify and measure selected characteristics of microcapsules as they are produced in a continuous process under sterile conditions. Conventional systems rely on batch processing that involves transfer of batches between different apparatuses for each stage of production. In contrast, the PFMS is a single, microprocessor-controlled system that performs all processing steps, including quality control measures. The innovation also can encapsulate live cells for transplantation together with immobilized immunosuppressant agents that will inhibit local immune rejection of supplanted cells. JSC has received patent number 7,094,045 for this technology.


  • Economical: Saves costs through reductions in labor, capitol, and time
  • Continuous: Offers an automated process that allows harvesting, washing, optimization, and sizing in real time
  • High-yield: Features continuous, higher-yield production of microcapsules than conventional batch processing
  • Versatile: Encapsulates different viscosity liquids
  • Biocompatible: Provides for use in sterile applications
  • Precise: Offers quality control measurement and imaging on each tagged or dyed particle


  • Drug delivery systems
  • Protein crystal growth
  • X-ray crystallography
  • Nanodevices
  • Fragrances
  • Self-repairing plastics
  • Chemical or petrochemical fluid monitoring


Johnson Space Center has received patent protection (U.S. 7,094,045→) for this technology.

Licensing and Partnering Opportunity

This technology is being made available through JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:

Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center
Phone: 281-483-3809
E-mail: jsc-techtran@mail.nasa.gov

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Page Last Updated: January 16th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator