Photonics Dictionary


A hydrogel is a three-dimensional network of polymer chains that are hydrophilic, meaning they have a strong affinity for water. This network structure allows hydrogels to absorb and retain large amounts of water while maintaining their structural integrity. Hydrogels are often soft and flexible, resembling natural tissues, which makes them useful in various biomedical, pharmaceutical, and engineering applications.

Hydrogels can be synthesized from natural or synthetic polymers. Natural polymers commonly used in hydrogel formation include proteins like gelatin or polysaccharides like alginate. Synthetic polymers such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) are also frequently used.

Due to their unique properties, hydrogels have a wide range of applications, including:

Biomedical applications: Hydrogels are used in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine for scaffolds that support cell growth and tissue repair. They can also be used for drug delivery systems, wound dressings, and contact lenses.

Biotechnology: Hydrogels are used in various biotechnological applications, including cell encapsulation for immunoisolation and cell therapy, as well as in biosensors and diagnostic devices.

Pharmaceuticals: Hydrogels can be used to encapsulate and deliver drugs or bioactive molecules in a controlled and sustained manner, improving drug efficacy and reducing side effects.

Personal care products: Hydrogels are used in products such as diapers, feminine hygiene products, and wound dressings due to their high water-absorbing capacity and soft texture.

Environmental applications: Hydrogels can be employed for water purification, wastewater treatment, and soil conditioning due to their ability to absorb and retain water, as well as to immobilize pollutants or nutrients.

Overall, hydrogels are versatile materials with a wide range of applications across various fields, owing to their unique combination of properties such as biocompatibility, tunable mechanical properties, and high water content.

We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze our website traffic as stated in our Privacy Policy. By using this website, you agree to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.