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Photoswitchable ratchet surface topographies based on self-protonating spiropyran-NIPAAM hydrogels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7268-7274
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2014
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


In this work, self-protonating spiropyran-based poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) polymer networks are prepared. These photoresponsive hydrogel coatings can change their surface topography upon exposure with visible light in a neutral environment. Photoresponsive surface-constrained films have been fabricated for which the swelling behavior can be controlled in a reversible manner. In a first step, symmetrical switchable surface topologies with varying cross-link density are obtained by polymerization-induced diffusion. Under light exposure, the areas with low cross-link density swell more than the areas with high cross-link density, thus forming a corrugated surface. Asymmetric ratchet-like photoresponsive surfaces have been prepared on prestructured asymmetric substrates. As a result of thickness variation of the surface-confined hydrogel layer, an asymmetric swelling behavior is obtained. Depending on the cross-link density of the hydrogel, it is possible to switch between a ratchet and flat surface topography or even an inverse ratchet surface by light.

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • N -isopropylacrylamide, photoresponsive hydrogel, ratchet, spiropyran, surface topography