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Micro- and macro-gels with stimuli-responsive crosslinking density

Sciences et Ingénierie de la Matière Molle (SIMM),
UMR 7615
Adresse  : ESPCI – 10 rue Vauquelin – 75231 Paris Cedex 05
Directeur de l’Unité : Christian Fretigny
Etablissement de rattachement : ESPCI/Sorbonne Université
Encadrement : Patrick Perrin/mail et Nicolas Sanson/mail
Descriptif du projet

During the last three decades micro- and macrogels have received considerable interests for applications in many areas including material science, drug delivery, biosensors …(1-3) Macrogels and microgels exhibit a 3D network structure that swells in a suitable solvent. Unlike macrogels, microgels are defined as colloidal gel particles of approximately 0.05 to 1 μm. Challenging research has been directed towards the synthesis « stimuli-responsive » or « smart » micro/macro-gels which properties can be reversibly modulated in response to an environmental stimulus such as pH, temperature, light… To achieve this, both micro- and macrogels need to bear suitable chemical functions to target the desired properties in relation to applications.
Within this framework, our research team is interested to the synthesis and functionalization of micro/ macrogel to control their swelling as well as their rheological/mechanical properties by changing their crosslinking density under stimulation as illustrated below.

The project is thus structured around three cornerstones : (i) the synthesis and characterization of functionalized micro/macrogels using (mainly) conventional radical polymerization. (ii) the physico-chemical characterization of the responsive gels depending on the chain environment. Typically, the swelling and rheological/mechanical behavior of the gels will be investigated with respect to their microscopic structures, which can be changed under the action of various stimuli.

References :

(1) Saunders B. et al., Advances in colloid and Interface Science 1999, 80, 1.
(2) Nayak S. et al., Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2005, 44, 7686.
(3) Oh, J.K. et al. Progress in Polymer Science 2008, 33, 448.

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