Photo-crosslinked synthetic biodegradable polymer networks are highly interesting materials for utilization in biomedical applications such as drug delivery, cell encapsulation and tissue engineering scaffolds. Varying the architecture, chemistry, degree of functionalization and molecular weight of the macromer precursor molecules results in networks with a wide range of physical- and mechanical properties, crosslinking densities, degradation characteristics and thus in potential applications. Photo-crosslinked networks can easily be prepared and have the possibility to entrap a wide range of (biologically active) substances and cells. Additionally, spatial and temporal control over the crosslinking process when using additive manufacturing processes, allows for the preparation of network structures with complex shapes. Photo-crosslinked networks have been used to prepare drug delivery devices, as these networks allow for drug delivery in a controlled way over a prolonged period of time. Furthermore, additive manufacturing techniques such as extrusion-based additive manufacturing and stereolithography have been used to prepare photo-crosslinked tissue engineering scaffolds. This allows for the preparation of designed porous structures with precise control over the pore size and pore architecture and optimal mechanical properties. In particular for stereolithography, a wide variety of resins based on biodegradable photo-crosslinkable macromers has been developed.
- biomedical applications
- biodegradable polymer networks