One Pot Photomediated Formation of Electrically Conductive Hydrogels

Electrically conductive hydrogels represent an innovative platform for the development of bioelectronic devices. While photolithography technologies have enabled the fabrication of complex architectures with high resolution, photoprinting conductive hydrogels is still a challenging task because the conductive polymer absorbs light which can outcompete photopolymerization of the insulating scaffold. In this study, we introduce an approach to synthesizing conductive hydrogels in one step. Our approach combines the simultaneous photo-cross-linking of a polymeric scaffold and the polymerization of 3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene (EDOT), without additional photocatalysts. This process involves the copolymerization of photo-cross-linkable coumarin-containing monomers with sodium styrenesulfonate to produce a water-soluble poly(styrenesulfonate-co-coumarin acrylate) (P(SS-co-CoumAc)) copolymer. Our findings reveal that optimizing the [SS]:[CoumAc] ratio at 100:5 results in hydrogels with the strain at break up to 16%. This mechanical resilience is coupled with an electronic conductivity of 9.2 S m–1 suitable for wearable electronics. Furthermore, the conductive hydrogels can be photopatterned to achieve micrometer-sized structures with high resolution. The photo-cross-linked hydrogels are used as electrodes to record stable and reliable surface electromyography (sEMG) signals. These novel photo-cross-linkable polymers combined with one-pot PEDOT (poly-EDOT) polymerization open possibilities for rapidly prototyping complex bioelectronic devices and creating custom-designed interfaces between electronics and biological systems.
This article was originally published in ACS Polymers Au. The version of record is available at: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.
conductive hydrogels, photo-cross-linking, bioelectronics, PEDOT:PSS, oxidative polymerization, coumarin
Nguyen, Dan My, Chun-Yuan Lo, Tianzheng Guo, Taewook Choi, Shalini Sundar, Zachary Swain, Yuhang Wu, Charles Dhong, and Laure V. Kayser. “One Pot Photomediated Formation of Electrically Conductive Hydrogels.” ACS Polymers Au 4, no. 1 (February 14, 2024): 34–44.