Special Issue "Stimuli-Responsive Hydrogels and Microgels"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021) | Viewed by 3138
Interests: dynamics of disordered materials (liquids, glasses, polymers); supercooled liquids and glasses; chemical and physical vitrification; gelation; microgels; thermoresponsive polymers; aggregation kinetics of soft materials; hydration properties of biomolecules; molecular dynamics simulation
Hydrogels are hydrophilic cross-linked polymer networks immersed in water or an aqueous medium. Owing to their highly hydrophilic nature they swell and retain considerable amounts of water, to an extent controlled by the cross-link density, the polymer/water compatibility, and the presence of electrical charges. Their nature of hydrated and “soft” materials imparts excellent biocompatibility, which makes them valuable in many biomedical applications in the fields of drug delivery, tissue engineering, implants, cell culture, and more. Beyond macroscopic gels, advances in synthetic methods have enabled the preparation of gel particles of colloidal size (microgels), whose behavior when immersed in a liquid combines useful aspects of conventional macrogels with useful properties of colloidal suspensions, introducing tunable features and new functionalities. One of the biggest driving forces for research on these materials (both macro- and microgels) is that they can be made responsive, meaning they can swell and deswell, or self-assemble and dissociate, in response to external stimuli like pH, temperature, ionic strength, mechanical forces, presence of specific chemicals, and magnetic and electric fields. Such “smart” materials are nowadays employed for a myriad of applications.
Although stimuli-responsive gels have been studied for decades, they are continuing to inspire researchers to find new formulations that better meet the challenges associated with specific applications in medicine and various industries, as well as to understand their physical properties and related behavior. Regarding microgels, they have become a highly active topic of research not only for applied studies, where they introduced new concepts for smart drug release and rheological control, but also for fundamental studies, where they constitute an ideal “soft” colloidal system useful for gaining new insights into biomimetic behaviors and phenomena like glass formation.
This Special Issue is open to contributions on all aspects of recent progress in the attractive field of stimuli-responsive hydrogels and microgels, including synthesis, characterization, physical properties, and dynamical behavior and applications that exploit their features. Original research papers, brief communication reports, as well as review articles, whether experimental or theoretical, are all welcome.
It is my pleasure to invite you to contribute to this Special Issue.
Dr. Silvia Corezzi
Manuscript Submission Information
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- Soft materials
- Stimuli-responsive polymers
- Materials physics
- Colloid science
- Volume phase transition
- Drug delivery