Versatile Fabrication Approach of Conductive Hydrogels via Copolymerization with Vinyl Monomers
Functionalized poly(ethylene dioxythiophene) (f-PEDOT) was copolymerized with two vinyl monomers of different hydrophilicity, acrylic acid and hydroxyethyl methacrylate, to produce electroconductive hydrogels with a range of physical and electronic properties. These hydrogels not only possessed tailored physical properties, such as swelling ratios and mechanical properties, but also displayed electroactivity dependent on the chemical composition of the network. Raman spectroscopy indicated that the functional PEDOT in the hydrogels is in an oxidized form, most likely accounting for the good electrochemical response of the hydrogels observed in physiological buffer. In vitro cell studies showed that cardiac cells respond differently when seeded on hydrogel substrates with different compositions. This study presents a facile approach for the fabrication of electroconductive hydrogels with a range of properties, paving the way for scaffolds that can meet the requirements of different electroresponsive tissues.