Magneto- and photo-responsive hydrogels from the co-assembly of peptides, cyclodextrins, and superparamagnetic nanoparticles†
Dual response to external non-invasive stimuli, such as light and magnetic field, is a highly desirable property in soft nanomaterials with potential applications in soft robotics, tissue engineering, and life-like materials. Within this class of materials, hydrogels obtained from the self-assembly of low molecular weight gelators (LMWGs) are of special interest due to their ease of preparation and modification. Herein, we report a modular co-assembly strategy for a magneto- and photo-responsive supramolecular hydrogel based on the arylazopyrazole (AAP) modified pentapeptide gelator Nap-GFFYS, and β-cyclodextrin vesicles (CDVs) with superparamagnetic cobalt ferrite nanoparticles embedded in their membranes. Upon application of a magnetic field, a reversible increase in the storage modulus is observed during rheological measurements. Additionally, a gel rod could be manipulated with a weak permanent magnet, resulting in macroscopic bending of the rod. Furthermore, through irradiation with UV and visible light, respectively, the host–guest interaction between the AAP moiety and the hydrophobic cavity of the β-CD can be deactivated on demand, thus lowering the stiffness of the hydrogel reversibly.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanolithography of biointerfaces