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Synthesis of hybrid microgels by coupling of laser ablation and polymerization in aqueous medium
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Loading microgels with bioactive nanoparticles (NPs) often requires multiple synthesis and purification steps, and organic solvents or precursors that are difficult to remove from the gel. Hence, a fast and aqueous synthesis procedure would facilitate the synthesis of inorganic–organic hybrid microgels. Two microgel compounds were hybridized with laser-generated zinc oxide (ZnO) NPs prepared in a single-step procedure. ZnO NPs were formed by laser ablation in liquid, while the polymermicrogels were synthesized in-situ inside the ablation chamber. Further, the authors report the preparation of two different microgel systems. The first one was produced without the use of chemical initiator forming hydrogels with ZnO NPs and diffuse morpholgy. Typical microgelcolloids were also synthesized via a conventional chemical method in a preheated reaction chamber. The existence of microgelcolloids partially loaded with ZnO NPs was confirmed in a transmission electron microscopy investigation. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic measurements and dynamic light scattering verify the formation of polymercolloids. These initial results indicate the application potential of laser ablation in microgel precursor solution for the fabrication of polymeric carriers for inorganic nanoparticles. Preliminary biological tests using zinc chloride demonstrated negative dose effects on primary cell culture with zinc concentrations above 200 μM but no noticeable influence at 100 μM.
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