Deakin University

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Miniature inhalation therapy platform using surface acoustic wave microfluidic atomization

Version 2 2024-06-04, 15:49
Version 1 2020-02-04, 15:48
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-04, 15:49 authored by A Qi, JR Friend, LY Yeo, David MortonDavid Morton, MP McIntosh, L Spiccia
Pulmonary drug administration requires direct delivery of drug formulations into the lower pulmonary tract and alveoli of the lung in the form of inhaled particles or droplets, providing a distinct advantage over other methods for the treatment of respiratory diseases: the drug can be delivered directly to the site of inflammation, thus reducing the need for systemic exposure and the possibility of adverse effects. However, it is difficult to produce droplets of a drug solution within a narrow monodisperse size range (1–10 µm) needed for deposition in the lower pulmonary tract and alveoli. Here, we demonstrate the use of surface acoustic wave microfluidic atomization as an efficient means to generate appropriate aerosols containing a model drug, the short-acting β2agonist salbutamol, for the treatment of asthma. The mean aerosol diameter produced, 2.84 ± 0.14 µm, lies well within the optimum size range, confirmed by a twin-stage impinger lung model, demonstrating that approximately 70 to 80% of the drug supplied to the atomizer is deposited within the lung. Our preliminary study explores how to control the aerosol diameter and lung delivery efficiency through the surface tension, viscosity, and input power, and also indicates which factors are irrelevant—like the fluid density. Even over a modest power range of 1–1.5 W, SAW atomization provides a viable and efficient generic nebulization platform for the delivery of drugsvia the pulmonary route for the treatment of various diseases. The control offered over the aerosol size, low power requirements, high delivery efficiency, and the miniaturization of the system together suggest the proposed platform represents an attractive alternative to current nebulizers compatible with microfluidic technologies.



Lab on a Chip






Cambridge, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, Royal Society of Chemistry




Royal Society of Chemistry