Photo-regeneration of severed gel with iniferter-mediated photo-growth†
Using dissipative particle dynamics (DPD), we developed a computational approach to model the light-induced regeneration of a gel matrix when a significant portion of the material is severed. We considered photo-controlled radical polymerization (photo-CRP) within polymer networks with embedded iniferter groups: the “photo-growth” strategy. Absorption of light by the iniferter groups turns on the polymerization process, which inserts monomers and cross-linkers into the network strands. Photo-growth allows us to effectively regenerate a severed gel under the application of light even when the severed parts are not in direct contact. The growth process can be turned off once the polymerization is near completion to yield a new cross-linked gel that resembles the uncut material.