Smart soft supramolecular hybrid hydrogels modulated by Zn2+ / Ag NPs with unique multifunctional properties and applications
The development of low molecular weight molecule-mediated biocompatible soft supramolecular hydrogels, considered to be the next generation material for biomedical applications, is a challenging task. In this reference the present work reports the synthesis of hybrid hydrogel (CISZ2H) comprising ternary nanohybrids (Zn2+-Ag NPs@β-FeOOH@5'-CMP), consisting of greener components as a building block with hydrophobic tail (containing Zn2+ ions, Ag NPs and β-FeOOH) and hydrophilic head (5'-cytidine monophosphate (5'-CMP)). The presence of Zn2+ ions and Ag NPs in the nanohybrids introduces new coordination sites and induce the puckering of ribose sugar in 5'-CMP to generate the solid-like network in the self-assembly via micellar formation involving building blocks. Extensive cross-linking among organic and inorganic moieties render these hydrogels with unique physicochemical features of improved mechanical strength ( ̴71000 Pa), large water retention capability (600%), self-healing and injectability as arrived by thixotropic measurements, low toxicity, and enhanced drug/dye loading capabilities. Thus, the co-doped Zn2+ ions and Ag NPs in CISZ2H imparts it with enhanced mechanical stability, shear thinning, external stimuli-responsiveness (pH and temperature), sustained slow drug release, surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) activity and antibacterial features, thereby, making this hydrogel to be safer for drug delivery, wound healing, sensing and tissue engineering. The excellent features of as-synthesized hydrogels qualify it as a smart soft material for advanced applications with enormous future potential.