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Conducting Polymers, Hydrogels And Their Composites: Preparation, Properties And Bioapplications

Monika Tomczykowa, Marta Plonska-Brzezinska

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This review is focused on current state-of-the-art research on electroactive-based materials and their synthesis, as well as their physicochemical and biological properties. Special attention is paid to pristine intrinsically conducting polymers (ICPs) and their composites with other organic and inorganic components, well-defined micro- and nanostructures, and enhanced surface areas compared with those of conventionally prepared ICPs. Hydrogels, due to their defined porous structures and being filled with aqueous solution, offer the ability to increase the amount of immobilized chemical, biological or biochemical molecules. When other components are incorporated into ICPs, the materials form composites; in this particular case, they form conductive composites. The design and synthesis of conductive composites result in the inheritance of the advantages of each component and offer new features because of the synergistic effects between the components. The resulting structures of ICPs, conducting polymer hydrogels and their composites, as well as the unusual physicochemical properties, biocompatibility and multi-functionality of these materials, facilitate their bioapplications. The synergistic effects between constituents have made these materials particularly attractive as sensing elements for biological agents, and they also enable the immobilization of bioreceptors such as enzymes, antigen-antibodies, and nucleic acids onto their surfaces for the detection of an array of biological agents. Currently, these materials have unlimited applicability in biomedicine. In this review, we have limited discussion to three areas in which it seems that the use of ICPs and materials, including their different forms, are particularly interesting, namely, biosensors, delivery of drugs and tissue engineering.