Tailoring pH-responsive acrylic acid microgels with hydrophobic crosslinks for drug release
Amphiphilic microgels based on the hydrophilic acrylic acid (AA) and hydrophobic crosslinks of different compositions were synthesised using a lab-on-a-chip device. The microgels were formed by polymerising hydrophobic droplets. The droplets were generated via a microfluidic platform and contained a protected form of AA, a hydrophobic crosslinker (ethylene glycol dimethacrylate, EGDMA) and a free radical initiator in an organic solvent. Following photopolymerisation and subsequent hydrolysis, AA based microgels of amphiphilic nature were produced and it was demonstrated that they can successfully deliver both hydrophilic as well as hydrophobic moieties. The model drug delivery and the swelling ability of the microgels were influenced by the pH of the aqueous solution as well as the crosslinking density and hydrophobic content of the microgels.