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Thermo- and redox-responsive dendronized polymer hydrogels


Combination of dendritic structures and thermoresponsiveness with metallo-supramolecular chemistry, a novel kind of smart hydrogels were prepared through ferrous ions-induced supramolecular interactions from oligoethylene glycol (OEG)-based first generation (G1) dendritic copolymers containing terpyridine (Tpy) moieties. These hydrogels show both thermally induced reversible shrunk-swelling and redox mediated gel-sol transitions. Rheological analyses by rotational rheometry reveal that their storage modulus (Gā€™) and loss modulus (Gā€) were dependent on crosslinking density through changing molar ratio of metal ions and Tpy moieties, as well as copolymer composition with different ratios of OEG dendron and Tpy units. Copolymers pendanted with linear OEG units and second generation (G2) dendrons were also prepared to compare possible architecture effects on the formation of hydrogels and their properties. By virtue of thermoresponsiveness of these dendronized copolymers, hydrogels were further prepared through cross-linking of aggregates above the polymer phase transition temperatures, which provides a convenient strategy to afford hydrogels with much improved elastic modulus. Moreover, encapsulation and thermally-mediated transition of model drug from the hydrogels were investigated, to demonstrate the unique confinement from OEG-based dendronized polymer matrix. This report not only provides a first route to fabricate intelligent hydrogels from dendronized copolymers through metal ions-mediated coordination, but also proves that thermoresponsive hydrogels with enhanced mechanical property could be simply prepared by crosslinking thermally-induced polymer aggregates.

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Publication details

The article was received on 31 Jul 2017, accepted on 10 Jan 2018 and first published on 10 Jan 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7PY01284E
Citation: Polym. Chem., 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Thermo- and redox-responsive dendronized polymer hydrogels

    X. Zhang, Y. Yin, J. Yan, W. Li and A. Zhang, Polym. Chem., 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7PY01284E

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