Microrheology of polysaccharide nanogel-integrated system
The viscoelastic behavior of a cholesterol-modified pullulan (CHP) nanogel at various concentrations was measured using passive particle-tracking microrheology. Microrheology measures stress–strain relationships in small volumes of material by monitoring the response of probes embedded in the medium. Although microrheology is a useful way to overcome sample volume limitations, the application of the method to CHP nanogel systems has not been reported. The viscoelastic spectra of the CHP nanogels obtained from the microrheological measurements were in good agreement with the bulk rheological measurements for each sample, demonstrating that microrheological measurement is effective in CHP nanogel systems. The gelation behavior of CHP nanogel dispersions containing pullulans of different molecular weights was also investigated by microrheology. CHP nanogels made from 1.0 or 4.0 × 105 molecular weight pullulans formed a macrogel at around 3.0 wt%, whereas the CHP nanogel consisting of 0.55 × 105 molecular weight pullulan did not form a macrogel. This suggests that the mechanical properties of the system can be controlled by the molecular weight of the pullulan used. These insights into gelation behavior should be useful in predicting the most favorable conditions for developing novel materials.
KeywordsHydrogel Nanogel Microrheology Polymer Polysaccharide
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