This review provides an overview of the syntheses of photosensitive layer-by-layer (LbL) films and microcapsules modified with azobenzene derivatives and their biomedical applications. Photosensitive LbL films and microcapsules can be prepared by alternate deposition of azobenzene-bearing polymers and counter polymers on the surface of flat substrates and microparticles, respectively. Azobenzene residues in the films and microcapsules exhibit trans-to-cis photoisomerization under UV light, which causes changes in the physical or chemical properties of the LbL assemblies. Therefore, azobenzene-functionalized LbL films and microcapsules have been used for the construction of photosensitive biomedical devices. For instance, cell adhesion on the surface of a solid can be controlled by UV light irradiation by coating the surface with azobenzene-containing LbL films. In another example, the ion permeability of porous materials coated with LbL films can be regulated by UV light irradiation. Furthermore, azobenzene-containing LbL films and microcapsules have been used as carriers for drug delivery systems sensitive to light. UV light irradiation triggers permeability changes in the LbL films and/or decomposition of the microcapsules, which results in the release of encapsulated drugs and proteins.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited