Wrinkled Hydrogel Formation by Interfacial Swelling on Thermoplastic Surfaces

  • Enrique Martinez
  • Alberto GallardoEmail author
  • Ana Santos-Coquillat
  • Noelia Lujan
  • Helmut Reinecke
  • Adolfo del Campo
  • Juan Rodríguez-HernandezEmail author


The development of simple strategies capable of simultaneously producing hydrophilic surfaces and controlled surface topography is rare in spite of their huge potential for a wide myriad of applications. Herein, we first summarize the different strategies to fabricate microstructured hydrogel surfaces and the different biological applications described in the literature. Then, we describe a procedure used to fabricate wrinkled structures in thermoplastics. We present a straightforward approach to form microwrinkled surfaces on polycarbonate (PC) film after a process that involves three different steps: first, the contact between a photosensitive monomer mixture based on vinylpyrrolidone (VP) and the PC substrate; second, a UV-curing step of this solution; and third, the hydrogel detachment as a result of the swelling in ethanol. Several parameters allow us to vary the wrinkle characteristics including the contact time between the PC surface and the photopolymerizable solution prior to the UV-vis irradiation, the type of solvent, as well as the cross-linking degree. By contact angle measurements and by confocal Raman microscopy, we were able to demonstrate that the PC wrinkled surface produced after hydrogel detachment has a thin hydrogel layer. Thus the hydrogel presented an internal rupture close to the PC substrate. Finally, we evaluated biocompatibility analyzing cell proliferation, cell morphology, and cell detachment on the substrates with both variable chemical composition and wrinkle size and period.


Wrinkled hydrogels Thermoplastics Interfacial diffusion Surface chemical composition Cell culture 



The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). Equally, this work was financially supported by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO) through MAT2013-47902-C2-1-R, MAT2013-42957-R, and MAT2016-78437-R, FEDER-EU.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrique Martinez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alberto Gallardo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ana Santos-Coquillat
    • 2
  • Noelia Lujan
    • 1
  • Helmut Reinecke
    • 1
  • Adolfo del Campo
    • 3
  • Juan Rodríguez-Hernandez
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Polímeros (ICTP), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Tissue Engineering Group; Instituto de Estudios Biofuncionales, Associated Unit to the ICTP-CSIC Polymer Functionalization GroupUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.Instituto de Cerámica y Vidrio (ICV-CSIC)MadridSpain

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