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Advanced Materials

Optically Responsive and Mechanically Tunable Colloid-In-Liquid Crystal Gels that Support Growth of Fibroblasts

Authors

  • Ankit Agarwal,

    1. Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706 (USA)
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  • Elise Huang,

    1. Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706 (USA)
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  • Sean Palecek,

    1. Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706 (USA)
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  • Nicholas L. Abbott

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706 (USA)
    • Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706 (USA).
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  • Authors thank Jugal K Gupta for his helpful discussions. The study was funded by NSF through grants DMR-0520527 and DMR-0602570, and ARO through grants W911NF-07-1-0446 and W911NF-06-1-0314. Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the author.

Abstract

Whereas low molecular weight liquid crystals (LCs) are too soft to support the culture of fibroblast cells, gels formed by polystyrene microparticles dispersed in LCs can be mechanically tuned to support the cell culture. These self-supporting gels can be readily molded, thus facilitating their use for cell culture, and they contain micrometer-sized domains of LCs that can be oriented by interactions at the surfaces confining the gels.

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