Convergent synthesis of diversified reversible network leads to liquid metal-containing conductive hydrogel adhesives

Public Time: 2021-04-23 00:00:00
Journal: Nature Communications
doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22675-2
Author: Yong Xu;Rebecca Rothe;Dagmar Voigt;Sandra Hauser;Meiying Cui;Takuya Miyagawa;Michelle Patino Gaillez;Thomas Kurth;Martin Bornhäuser;Jens Pietzsch;Yixin Zhang
Summary: Many features of extracellular matrices, e.g., self-healing, adhesiveness, viscoelasticity, and conductivity, are associated with the intricate networks composed of many different covalent and non-covalent chemical bonds. Whereas a reductionism approach would have the limitation to fully recapitulate various biological properties with simple chemical structures, mimicking such sophisticated networks by incorporating many different functional groups in a macromolecular system is synthetically challenging. Herein, we propose a strategy of convergent synthesis of complex polymer networks to produce biomimetic electroconductive liquid metal hydrogels. Four precursors could be individually synthesized in one to two reaction steps and characterized, then assembled to form hydrogel adhesives. The convergent synthesis allows us to combine materials of different natures to generate matrices with high adhesive strength, enhanced electroconductivity, good cytocompatibility in vitro and high biocompatibility in vivo. The reversible networks exhibit self-healing and shear-thinning properties, thus allowing for 3D printing and minimally invasive injection for in vivo experiments.
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