Recent innovations highlight the integration of diverse materials with synthetic and biological hydrogels. Examples include brain-machine interfaces, tissue regeneration, and soft ionic devices. Existing methods of strong adhesion mostly focus on the chemistry of bonds and the mechanics of dissipation, but largely overlook the molecular topology of connection. Here, we highlight the significance of molecular topology by designing a specific bond-stitch topology. The bond-stitch topology achieves strong adhesion between preformed hydrogels and various materials, where the hydrogels have no functional groups for chemical coupling, and the adhered materials have functional groups on the surface. The adhesion principle requires a species of polymer chains to form bond with a material through complementary functional groups, and form a network in situ that stitches with the polymer network of a hydrogel. We study the physics and chemistry of this topology, and describe its potential applications in medicine and engineering.
The publications shown here are the articles indexed by PubMed, not the complete list of the lab's publications.