Abstract

Poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) hydrogels incorporating copper nanoparticles (Cu-PHEMA) were prepared by a two-step process. In the first step, porous PHEMA hydrogels containing aqueous Cu(II) were formed by photo-induced phase separation polymerization in aqueous formulations containing 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), a photoinitator, a cross-linker, and CuSO4. In the second step, the Cu(II) ions were reduced to Cu(0) (Cu NPs) by hydrazine. The Cu-PHEMA hydrogels were red-brown due to the presence of the Cu NPs, and X-ray diffraction studies confirmed the NPs were crystalline Cu and not CuO. The porous PHEMA and Cu-PHEMA hydrogels exhibited the polymer droplet morphology characteristic of sponges formed by induced phase separation polymerization of HEMA in water. The Cu NPs were stable inside the hydrogel, and leaching of Cu NPs into water was very slow. Leached Cu NPs moderately inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli or Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in the surrounding medium. Incorporation of Cu NPs inside PHEMA hydrogels did not change compression strength of hydrogels. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number150
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Volume23
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

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