Design, Synthesis and Characterization of Multiresponsive Microgels
Nayak, Satish Prakash
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This thesis is geared towards using hydrogel nanoparticles in various biotechnological applications. The polymer that was used in making these nanoparticles was poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), which is a thermoresponsive polymer. These particles were used in making fast responsive polymer films, which can be used in optics. It was observed that the rate of deswelling increased as the concentration of the nanoparticles in the film was increased. These particles were also used in making photoresponsive materials. In this case a photoresponsive dye (malachite green) was conjugated to these nanoparticles and in presence of light of appropriate wavelength the particles undergo a phase transition. A core/shell construct was synthesized where the core was composed of degradable cross-links and the shell of composed of non-degradable cross-links. The degradable cross-linker had vicinal diols, which can be cleaved by sodium periodate. Hence after degrading the core, hollow particles were obtained. Zwitterionic particles were made by incorporating a cationic and anionic comonomer. These microgels go from a positively charged state to zwitterionic to negatively charged state on increasing the pH. One of the important potential applications for these microgels is drug delivery. Microgels were used for targeting cancer cells. Folic acid was used as the targeting ligand. The microgels were conjugated with folic acid and were able to target cells that overexpress folate receptors. In one other application core/shell microgels were made which exhibit pore-size dependent permeation of proteins.