Smart Materials

The need for smartness

Smart materials (intelligent drug delivery systems) are known for their high potential in novel drug delivery systems. Materials are called “smart” or “intelligent” when they have the ability to respond to an external signal – they can be defined as stimulus-responsive or environmental-responsive. Common triggers are light, temperature and pH. Recently triggers were widened to include small molecules, magnetic fields and combinations of different triggers. Many applications for these materials are found in biomedical science. The triggers, as well as the chemical framework of the smart materials, cover a broad range of structures with examples including polymeric micelles, crosslinked or supermolecular hydrogels and inorganic membranes.

Within this group we investigate different trigger systems and their possible biomedical application. In particular we focus on small molecules as novel triggers. In the last years we created a broad range of materials amenable to such triggers including hydrogels and nanoparticles.