In this study, we prepared gold nanorod (NR)-embedded N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) hydrogels and studied their volume phase transition behavior induced by near-infrared (near-IR) laser irradiation utilizing the photothermal conversion characteristics of the NRs. When poly(ethylene glycol)-modified NRs were used for the preparation of composite gels, the NRs showed marked dispersion stability in the gel. Near-IR laser irradiation of the gel (cylindrical shape, diameter = 140 μm) under the following conditions, NR concentrations in the gel ≥ 100 μM and laser irradiation power ≥490 mW, resulted in shrinkage of the gel in the following manner: (1) waist formation around the irradiation spot and (2) growth of the waist along the axial directions of the gel. The gel shrinking induced by near-IR irradiation occurred much more rapidly than that afforded by a temperature jump, because the former was not accompanied by the skin layer formation, which disturbs the rapid shrinking of the gels. When a composite gel containing the model drug (rhodamine-labeled dextran) was irradiated with a near-IR laser, the rapid release of the drug was observed. Taking advantage of the high spatial resolution of the irradiation point, we further achieved the irradiation-point-specific release of the drug from one such gel.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces