topbannblueonwhite (7K)


Electrochemically degradable polymers

A large number of polymers derive their useful materials properties in part from the extent of covalent cross-linking between chains. However, once these materials have been cross-linked, their materials properties are rarely alterable.

We are developing new polymer cross-linking agents that are electrochemically degradable. Polymers cross-linked by these agents should have the same useful materials properties of the parent polymers cross-linked by traditional agents, but the new polymer cross-links should be degradable upon electrical stimulation. Thus the electrochemically degradable polymer (EDP) would have material properties that could be switched upon demand by electrochemical means.

Electrochemical degradation of a polymer microsphere.

degradable polymer figure_b (13K)

We expect the EDPs to have broad applicability in a number of fields including drug delivery, microfluidics, and surgical materials. For example, if a useful drug such as insulin were trapped within polymer microspheres made of an EDP and the resulting microspheres in a microelectrochemical device were implanted in a patient with type II diabetes, it may be possible to cause stimulated release of insulin on demand, thus obviating the need for frequent insulin injections.

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Tufts University