Departmental Papers (MSE)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

October 2008


Several biocompatible polymers are capable of large responses to small temperature changes around 37ºC. In water, their responses include shrinkage and swelling as well as transitions in wettability. These properties have been harnessed for biomedical applications such as tissue engineering scaffolds and drug delivery carriers. A soft material/hard material hybrid in which a magnetic metal or oxide is embedded in a temperature-responsive polymer matrix can combine the thermal sensitivity with magnetic signatures. Importantly, nanosizing such construct brings about new desirable features of extremely fast thermal response time, small magnetic hysteresis and enhanced magnetic susceptibility. Remote magnetic maneuvering and heating of the hybrid nanocolloids makes possible such applications as high-throughput enzyme separation and cell screening. Robust drug release on demand may also be obtained using these colloids and nanoparticle-derived thin film devices of combined thermal magnetic sensitivity.


Postprint version. Published in Nano Today, Volume 4, Issue 1, February 2009, Pages 52-65.
Publisher URL:


nanoparticles, biomedical, thermal response, magnetic response, drug delivery



Date Posted: 25 November 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.