Fabrication and characterization of superparamagnetic and thermoresponsive hydrogels based on oleic-acid-coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles, hexa(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate and 2-(acetoacetoxy)ethyl methacrylate
Athanasopoulos, G. I.
SourceJournal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials
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Stimuli-responsive hydrogel nanocomposites comprised of swollen polymer networks, in which magnetic nanoparticles are embedded, are a relatively new class of "smart" soft materials presenting a significant impact on various technological and biomedical applications. A novel approach for the fabrication of hydrogel nanocomposites exhibiting temperature- and magneto-responsive behavior involves the random copolymerization of hexa(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (HEGMA, hydrophilic, thermoresponsive) and 2-(acetoacetoxy)ethyl methacrylate (AEMA, hydrophobic, metal-chelating) in the presence of preformed oleic-acid-coated magnetite nanoparticles (OA·Fe3O4). In total, two series of hydrogel nanocomposites have been prepared in two different solvent systems: ethyl acetate (series A) and tetrahydrofuran (series B). The degrees of swelling (DSs) of all conetworks were determined in organic and in aqueous media. The nanocrystalline phase adopted by the embedded magnetic nanoparticles was investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD) spectroscopy. The obtained diffraction patterns indicated the presence of magnetite (Fe3O4). Deswelling kinetic studies that were carried out at ∼60 °C in water demonstrated the thermoresponsive properties of the hydrogel nanocomposites, attributed to the presence of the hexaethylene glycol side chains within the conetworks. Moreover, thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) measurements showed that these materials exhibited superior thermal stability compared to the pristine hydrogels. Further to the characterization of compositional and thermal properties, the assessment of magnetic characteristics by vibrational sample magnetometry (VSM) disclosed superparamagnetic behavior. The tunable superparamagnetic behavior exhibited by these materials depending on the amount of magnetic nanoparticles incorporated within the networks combined with their thermoresponsive properties may allow for their future exploitation in the biomedical field. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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