American Chemical Society
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Microgel-Based Stretchable Reservoir Devices for Elongation Enhanced Small Molecule Release Rate

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posted on 2020-04-07, 15:33 authored by Yingnan Zhang, Yongfeng Gao, Wildemar S. P. Carvalho, Changhao Fang, Michael J. Serpe
Stretchable poly­(N-isopropylacrylamide)-co-acrylic acid (pNIPAm-co-10% AAc) microgel-based reservoir devices were fabricated and used to control the release rate of the small molecule model drug tris­(4-(dimethylamino)­phenyl)­methylium chloride (crystal violet, CV) to solution by varying the Au layer thickness coating the microgels and device elongation. Specifically, we showed that CV could be loaded into the microgel layer of the devices via electrostatic interactions at pH 6.5, and the release could be triggered upon exposure to a pH 3.0 solution, which breaks the microgel–CV electrostatic interactions. We demonstrated that the rate of release could be increased by decreasing the Au layer thickness coating microgels and by stretching, that is, thin Au and high elongation promoted the relatively fast release of CV from the device. We found that the Au overlayer thickness (and porosity) dominated the observed release rate profiles when the device was not stretched (or at low elongation), while elongation-induced cracks dominated the release rate at high elongation. We also showed that the CV release kinetics could transition from low (“off”) to high (“on”), which enhanced when the devices are stretched. This behavior could be exploited in the future for autonomous release systems that release small molecules when stretched by natural processes, for example, movement of joints and muscles.