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Keywords:

  • biocompatible polymers;
  • biomaterials;
  • click chemistry;
  • controlled radical polymerization;
  • stimuli-responsive polymers

Abstract

Monomers composed of a (meth)acrylate moiety connected to a short poly(ethylene)glycol (PEG) chain are versatile building-blocks for the preparation of “smart” biorelevant materials. Many of these monomers are commercial and can be easily polymerized by either anionic, free-radical, or controlled radical polymerization. The latter approach allows synthesis of well-defined PEG-based macromolecular architectures such as amphiphilic block copolymers, dense polymer brushes, or biohybrids. Furthermore, the resulting polymers exhibit fascinating solution properties in aqueous medium. Depending on the molecular structure of their monomer units, non linear PEG analogues can be either insoluble in water, readily soluble up to 100 °C, or thermoresponsive. Thus, these polymers can be used for building a wide variety of modern materials such as biosensors, artificial tissues, smart gels for chromatography, and drug carriers. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 46: 3459–3470, 2008