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Lighting Hydrogels Via Nanomaterials by Jennifer Reiley

Hydrogels are commonly used inside the body to help in tissue regeneration and drug delivery. However, once inside, they can be challenging to control for optimal use. A team of researchers in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University is developing a new way to manipulate the gel—by using light. Graduate student Patrick Lee and Dr. Akhilesh Gaharwar, associate professor, are developing a new class of hydrogels that can leverage light in a multitude of ways. Light is a particularly attractive source of energy as it can be confined to a predefined area as well as be finetuned by the time or intensity of light exposure. Their work was recently published in the journal Advanced Materials. Light-responsive hydrogels are an emerging class of materials used for developing noninvasive, noncontact, precise and controllable medical devices in a wide range of biomedical applications, including photothermal therapy, photodynamic therapy, drug delivery and regenerative medicine. Lee said light-responsive biomaterials are often used in biomedical applications; however, current light sources, such as ultraviolet light and visible light, cannot sufficiently penetrate the tissue to interact with the hydrogel. Instead, the team is researching near-infrared (NIR) light, which has a higher penetration depth.
https://phys.org/news/2021-06-hydrogels-nanomaterials.html

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