Gels and hydrogels

Gels are materials composed of a three-dimensional crosslinked polymer or colloidal network immersed in a fluid. They are usually soft and weak, but can be made hard and tough. Hydrogels are gels that have water as their main constituent.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    Although common in biology, controlled stiffening of hydrogels in vitro is difficult to achieve. Here the authors show how a biomimetic hybrid hydrogel can be stiffened instantaneously and reversibly up to 50 times.

    • Paula de Almeida
    • , Maarten Jaspers
    • , Sarah Vaessen
    • , Oya Tagit
    • , Giuseppe Portale
    • , Alan E. Rowan
    •  & Paul H. J. Kouwer
  • Reviews |

    Mucus is a 3D hydrogel composed of mucins that houses the human microbiome. Mucus guides microbial cell fate and is involved in the suppression of pathogenic bacteria. In this Review, the authors discuss the design of synthetic mucins for the investigation of mucus–microbiome interactions and for applications in 3D in vitro cell culture.

    • Caroline Werlang
    • , Gerardo Cárcarmo-Oyarce
    •  & Katharina Ribbeck
  • Research | | open

    Stimuli-responsive microstructures are important in soft robotics and biosciences, but water compatible materials to fabricate 3D structures are scarce. Here, the authors demonstrate pNIPAM based hetero-microstructures with substantially different material parameters by variation of the local exposure dose in 3D laser lithography.

    • Marc Hippler
    • , Eva Blasco
    • , Jingyuan Qu
    • , Motomu Tanaka
    • , Christopher Barner-Kowollik
    • , Martin Wegener
    •  & Martin Bastmeyer
  • Research | | open

    Enzymatic reactions caused by neutrophils can cause the elevation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in tumour tissue, Here, the authors, inspired by the neutrophils, design and test a synthetic cascade reaction which turns ROS into singlet oxygen and demonstrate the application of the designed nanoparticle

    • Qing Wu
    • , Zhigang He
    • , Xia Wang
    • , Qi Zhang
    • , Qingcong Wei
    • , Sunqiang Ma
    • , Cheng Ma
    • , Jiyu Li
    •  & Qigang Wang
  • Research | | open

    The demonstration of nature-inspired embodied control logic in simple autonomous material systems is of significant interest in applications such as soft robots and drug delivery. Here, the authors demonstrate 3D printed self-actuating structures with control logic in response to suitable stimuli.

    • Yijie Jiang
    • , Lucia M. Korpas
    •  & Jordan R. Raney
  • Reviews |

    Man-made fibrillar hydrogels mimic the structure of filamentous extracellular matrices and can be used as biomaterials for 3D cell culture and tissue engineering. In this Review, the authors discuss the design and properties of fibrillar hydrogels and explore different building blocks, assembly mechanisms, properties and applications.

    • Elisabeth Prince
    •  & Eugenia Kumacheva

News and Comment