Meso-ordered soft hydrogels
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2012
Many factors such as cross-link density are known to dictate the properties of hydrogels; however, less is known about the microstructure and how it can be tailored to control the properties. Here we demonstrate a method of forming microstructured hydrogels using a soft template that allows us to control and modify the microstructure. Meso-ordered hydrogels were formed by chemically cross-linking poly(ethylene glycol)-diacrylate (PEG-DA) segments via photopolymerization in the presence of poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(propylene glycol)-poly(ethylene glycol) (EOxPOyEOx) block copolymers. The results showed that hydrogels with lamellar mesostructured regions were formed when high concentrations of PEG-DA segments (50%) were used in combination with block co-polymers having certain ratios of the hydrophilic and hydrophobic blocks (P123, EO20PO70EO20). Only lamellar mesostructures were observed, independent of the PEG molecular weight (1500 or 3400 g mol(-1)) or block co-polymer concentration (10-50%). This finding demonstrates that it is possible to form soft meso-ordered hydrogels using block co-polymers as templates, and they do not follow the same mesophase behavior as the purely self-assembled block co-polymers.
polymer network hydrogels