Photomechanical polymer nanocomposites for drug delivery devices
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We demonstrate a novel structure based on smart carbon nanocomposites intended for fabricating laser-triggered drug delivery devices (DDDs). The performance of the devices relies on nanocomposites’ photothermal effects that are based on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) with carbon nanoparticles (CNPs). Upon evaluating the main features of the nanocomposites through physicochemical and photomechanical characterizations, we identified the main photomechanical features to be considered for selecting a nanocomposite for the DDDs. The capabilities of the PDMS/CNPs prototypes for drug delivery were tested using rhodamine-B (Rh-B) as a marker solution, allowing for visualizing and quantifying the release of the marker contained within the device. Our results showed that the DDDs readily expel the Rh-B from the reservoir upon laser irradiation and the amount of released Rh-B depends on the exposure time. Additionally, we identified two main Rh-B release mechanisms, the first one is based on the device elastic deformation and the second one is based on bubble generation and its expansion into the device. Both mechanisms were further elucidated through numerical simulations and compared with the experimental results. These promising results demonstrate that an inexpensive nanocomposite such as PDMS/CNPs can serve as a foundation for novel DDDs with spatial and temporal release control through laser irradiation. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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