, Volume 287, Issue 1, pp 1-11
Date: 29 Oct 2008

Nanocomposite polymer hydrogels

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Abstract

The technological need for new and better soft materials as well as the drive for new knowledge and fundamental understanding has led to significant advances in the field of nanocomposite gels. A variety of complex gel structures with unique chemical, physical, and biological properties have been engineered or discovered at the nanoscale. The possibility to form self-assembled and supramolecular morphologies makes organic polymers and inorganic nanoparticles desirable building blocks for the design of water based gels. In this review, we highlight the most recent (2004–2008) accomplishments and trends in the field of nanocomposite polymer hydrogels with a focus on creative approaches to generating structures, properties, and function within mostly biotechnological applications. We examine the impact of published work and conclude with an outline on future directions and challenges that come with the design and engineering of new nanocomposite gels.