Stimuli-Responsive Intelligent Nanomaterials Self-Assembled from Rigid Flexible Molecules
Final rept. 7 May 2009-18 Jun 2010
SEOUL NATIONAL UNIV (REPUBLIC OF KOREA)
Pagination or Media Count:
Aqueous nanofibers constructed by self-assembly of small amphiphilic molecules are able to entangle with each other to form hydrogels that have a variety of applications including tissue engineering, and controlled drug delivery. The hydrogels are formed through physical cross-links in a random way of flexible nanofibers. Here we report that the self-assembled nanofibers with a nematic substructure are aligned into a nematic liquid crystal and spontaneously fixed in the aligned state to give rise to anisotropic gels. The liquid crystal gels are responsive to temperature variation by transformation into a fluid solution on cooling. Thus, the nanofiber solution can be mixed with cells at room temperature and transformed into gels to encapsulate the cells in a 3D environment upon heating to physiological temperatures. We found that the cells grow within the 3D networks without compromising cell viability, and subsequent cooling triggers the encapsulated cells to be released through a sol-gel transition. We anticipate that our smart nematic gels offer novel opportunities in many biological applications including tissue regeneration and drug delivery vehicles.
- Atomic and Molecular Physics and Spectroscopy