Creation and characterisation of double network hydrogels with mechanical properties matching tissue for bioelectronic applications

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


Hydrogels can be made in biocompatible or biodegradable forms using widely available chemical routes. Double network hydrogels, a form of interpenetrating network in which a second network conveys mechanical strength to the first, are a relatively new area of research and their mechanical properties are remarkable. In this project, double network hydrogels will be synthesised in a variety of forms to create robust structures that can match both biological tissue and be easily integrated with electrolyte-based transistors, which will work as sensors and actuators.

The project will be run in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Modena and Regio Emilia in Italy, where a substantial organic bioelectronics research effort is underway.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509735/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1798023 Studentship EP/N509735/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2020 Emily Hall
Description As the award is still ongoing, there are limited key findings to report, however the work undertaken so far has resulted in the development of biocompatible and biodegradable hydrogel-based scaffolds for organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) based on hyaluronic acid (HA) and chondroitin sulfate (CS). HA hydrogels have been synthesised using an EDC coupling procedure and, after mechanical testing, and were found to have elastic moduli between 2 and 120 kPa, matching those of various structures in the central nervous system. Additionally, the degradation behaviour of the HA hydrogels was also characterised.
For use as the electronically active polymer within the device, PEDOT doped with CS and HA was synthesised and the I/V characteristics were recorded giving sheet resistances around 4.7 kO ?-1 which were comparable to previous work by other groups.
The work towards combining the HA hydrogels with PEDOT:HA and/or PEDOT:CS, and investigations into the OECT behaviour, is ongo
Exploitation Route The project is ongoing and therefore it is hard to say at this point, however the organic bioelectronic field is ever growing and the findings could be used to develop more specific useful devices in future.
Sectors Electronics,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology