Shining Light on Poly(ethylene glycol): From Polymer Modification to 3D Laser Printing of Water Erasable Microstructures
Hannes A. Houck, P. Müller, M. Wegener, C. Barner‐Kowollik, F.E. Du Prez, and E. Blasco
Adv. Mater. 2003060 (2020)
- Date: 9.07.2020
The implementation of stimuli‐responsive bonds into 3D network assemblies is a key concept to design adaptive materials that can reshape and degrade. Here, a straightforward but unique photoresist is introduced for the tailored fabrication of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) materials that can be readily erased by water, even without the need for acidic or basic additives. Specifically, a new class of photoresist is developed that operates through the backbone crosslinking of PEG when irradiated in the presence of a bivalent triazolinedione. Hence, macroscopic gels are obtained upon visible light‐emitting diode irradiation (λ > 515 nm) that are stable in organic media but rapidly degrade upon the addition of water. Photoinduced curing is also applicable to multiphoton laser lithography (λ > 700 nm), hence providing access to 3D printed microstructures that vanish when immersed in water at 37 °C. Materials with varying crosslinking densities are accessed by adapting the applied laser writing power, thereby allowing for tunable hydrolytic erasing timescales. A new platform technology is thus presented that enables the crosslinking and 3D laser printing of PEG‐based materials, which can be cleaved and erased in water, and additionally holds potential for the facile modification and backbone degradation of polyether‐containing materials in general.