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New hybrid system: Poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogel with covalently bonded pegylated nanotubes



Hydrogels containing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are expected to be promising conjugates because they might show a synergic combination of properties from both materials. Most of the hybrid materials containing CNTs only entrap them physically, and the covalent attachment has not been properly addressed yet. In this study, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) were successfully incorporated into a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogel by covalent bonds to form a hybrid material. For this purpose, SWNTs were functionalized with poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGMA) to obtain water-soluble pegylated SWNTs (SWNT–PEGMA). These functionalized SWNTs were covalently bonded through their PEG moieties to a PEG hydrogel. The hybrid network was obtained from the crosslinking reaction of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate prepolymer and the SWNT–PEGMA by dual photo-UV and thermal initiations. The mechanical and swelling properties of the new hybrid material were studied. In addition, the material and lixiviates were analyzed to elucidate any kind of SWNT release and to evaluate a possible in vitro cytotoxic effect. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011