We present the assembly of asymmetric two-layer hybrid DNA-based hydrogels revealing stimuli-triggered reversibly modulated shape transitions. Asymmetric, linear hydrogels that include layer-selective switchable stimuli-responsive elements that control the hydrogel stiffness are designed. Trigger-induced stress in one of the layers results in the bending of the linear hybrid structure, thereby minimizing the elastic free energy of the systems. The removal of the stress by a counter-trigger restores the original linear bilayer hydrogel. The stiffness of the DNA hydrogel layers is controlled by thermal, pH (i-motif), K+ ion/crown ether (G-quadruplexes), chemical (pH-doped polyaniline), or biocatalytic (glucose oxidase/urease) triggers. A theoretical model relating the experimental bending radius of curvatures of the hydrogels with the Young’s moduli and geometrical parameters of the hydrogels is provided. Promising applications of shape-regulated stimuli-responsive asymmetric hydrogels include their use as valves, actuators, sensors, and drug delivery devices.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research is supported by the Israel Science Foundation. The imaging of the structures by Chang Liu is greatly acknowledged.
© 2016 American Chemical Society.