One-Step Fabrication of Biocompatible Multifaceted Nanocomposite Gels and Nanolayers

Fuat Topuz*, Matthias Bartneck, Yu Pan, Frank Tacke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Nanocomposite gels are a fascinating class of polymeric materials with an integrative assembly of organic molecules and organic/inorganic nanoparticles, offering a unique hybrid network with synergistic properties. The mechanical properties of such networks are similar to those of natural tissues, which make them ideal biomaterial candidates for tissue engineering applications. Existing nanocomposite gel systems, however, lack many desirable gel properties, and their suitability for surface coatings is often limited. To address this issue, this article aims at generating multifunctional nanocomposite gels that are injectable with an appropriate time window, functional with bicyclononynes (BCN), biocompatible and slowly degradable, and possess high mechanical strength. Further, the in situ network-forming property of the proposed system allows the fabrication of ultrathin nanocomposite coatings in the submicrometer range with tunable wettability and roughness. Multifunctional nanocomposite gels were fabricated under cytocompatible conditions (pH 7.4 and T = 37 °C) using laponite clays, isocyanate (NCO)-terminated sP(EO-stat-PO) macromers, and clickable BCN. Several characterization techniques were employed to elucidate the structure-property relationships of the gels. Even though the NCO-sP(EO-stat-PO) macromers could form a hydrogel network in situ on contact with water, the incorporation of laponite led to significant improvement of the mechanical properties. BCN motifs with carbamate links were used for a metal-free click ligation with azide-functional molecules, and the subsequent gradual release of the tethered molecules through the hydrolysis of carbamate bonds was shown. The biocompatibility of the hydrogels was examined through murine macrophages, showing that the material composition strongly affects cell behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-397
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


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