Glucose-Responsive Boronic Acid Hydrogel Thin Films Obtained via Initiated Chemical Vapor Deposition

Katrin Unger, Anna Maria Coclite*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glucose-responsive materials are of great importance in the field of monitoring the physiological glucose level or smart insulin management. This study presents the first vacuum-based deposition of a glucose-responsive hydrogel thin film. The successful vacuum-based synthesis of a glucose-responsive hydrogel may open the door to a vast variety of new applications, where, for example, the hydrogel thin film is applied on new possible substrates. In addition, vacuum-deposited films are free of leachables (e.g., plasticizers and residual solvents). Therefore, they are, in principle, safe for in-body applications. A hydrogel made of but-3-enylboronic acid units, a boronic acid compound, was synthesized via initiated chemical vapor deposition. The thin film was characterized in terms of chemical composition, surface morphology, and swelling response toward pH and sucrose, a glucose-fructose compound. The film was stable in aqueous solutions, consisting of polymerized boronic acid and the initiator unit, and had an undulating texture appearance (rms 2.1 nm). The hydrogel was in its shrunken state at pH 4-7 and swelled by increasing the pH to 9. The pKawas 8.2 ± 0.2. The response to glucose was observed at pH 10 and resulted in thickness shrinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4289-4295
Number of pages7
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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