Cubosomes are discrete, sub-micron, nanostructured particles of the biscontinuous cubic liquid crystalline phase. The term "biscontinuous" refers to two distinct hydrophilic regions separated by the bilayer. Biscontinuous cubic crystalline materials have been an active research topic because their structure lends itself well to controlled-release applications.
Cubosomes are liquid crystalline nano-structures formed from the cubic phase of lipids, such as monooleate, or any other amphiphilic macromolecules with the unique property to be dispersed into particles. In short, the emulsification of the cubic lipid phases in water results in production of cubosomes that can be defined as nanoparticulate dispersal systems characterized by high biocompatibility and bioadhesivity. They are formed by the mixture of phospholipid ( glycerol monooleate) and non-ionic surfactant in aqueous media by applying high energy dispersion such as sonication and homogenization. Nano-vehicles are generated from a self-assembled lipid mixture and studied by means of high-resolution cryogenic transmission electron microscope (cryo-TEM). These structures have been observed to naturally occur in mitochondrial membranes and in stressed cells.
Cubosomes are formed at controlled temperatures into lipid bi-layer twisted into three dimension with minimal surface forming a tightly packed structure with bicontinuous domains of water and lipid. There are three different proposed phases that these cubic structures can be in: the P-surface, G-surface and D-surface for primitive, gyroid and diamond structures respectively. This variation in structure allows for cubosomes to be the ultimate drug delivery system due to its ability to maintain the structural integrity of the ingredients that it carries. The uses of cubosomes are still being researched but they range from systems for efficient drug delivery into specific body systems to stabilizing and producing palladium nanoparticles.