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Dynamic display of biomolecular patterns through an elastic creasing instability of stimuli-responsive hydrogels

Nature Materials volume 9, pages 159164 (2010) | Download Citation

Abstract

Surfaces with physicochemical properties that can be modulated using external stimuli offer great promise for designing responsive or adaptive materials. Here, we describe biocompatible dynamic scaffolds based on thin hydrogel coatings that reversibly hide and display surface chemical patterns in response to temperature changes. At room temperature, the gel absorbs water, triggering an elastic creasing instability that sequesters functionalized regions within tight folds in the surface. Deswelling at 37 C causes the gel surface to unfold, thereby regenerating the biomolecular patterns. Crease positions are directed by topographic features on the underlying substrate, and are translated into two-dimensional micrometre-scale surface chemical patterns through selective deposition of biochemically functionalized polyelectrolytes. We demonstrate specific applications of these dynamic scaffolds—selective capture, sequestration and release of micrometre-sized beads, tunable activity of surface-immobilized enzymes and reversible encapsulation of adherent cells—which offer promise for incorporation within lab-on-a-chip devices or as dynamic substrates for cellular biology.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Z. Suo and X. Zhao for helpful discussions and for providing the user-defined Abaqus subroutines used to model swelling of hyperelastic gels, and to P. Wadsworth and C. Fagerstrom for providing cells and assisting with cell culture experiments. This work was primarily financially supported by the National Science Foundation through grant DMR-0747756 with further support provided by a 3M Nontenured Faculty Grant, and made use of facilities supported by the NSF MRSEC at UMass (DMR-0820506) and NSF grant BBS-8714235. J.Y. is partially supported by the Korean Research Foundation (KRF-2008-357-D00079).

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA

    • Jungwook Kim
    • , Jinhwan Yoon
    •  & Ryan C. Hayward

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Contributions

R.C.H. and J.K. designed the research project and experiments. J.K. carried out the bulk of experiments and simulations; J.Y. characterized temperature-dependent swelling behaviours of the gel networks. R.C.H. and J.K. primarily wrote the paper with input and comments from J.Y.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ryan C. Hayward.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat2606

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