Véronique Amstutz, Fernando Cortes Salazar, Hubert Girault, Andreas Stephan Lesch
Polyacrylamide (PA) based hydrogels are used in several applications including polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and sensing devices. Homogeneous and compact PA films can be prepared based on chemical or photopolymerization processes. However, the accurate and reproducible coating of substrates with nanohydrogel patterns is challenging due to the in situ polymerization and deposition requirements. Herein, we report an inkjet printing (IJP) concept with simultaneously performed UV photopolymerization of a specifically prepared acrylamide/N,N′-methylenebis(acrylamide) containing ink. A prepolymerization step of the hydrogel precursor molecules was implemented in the ink formulation protocol to adjust the viscosity of the ink and to enhance the rate of polymerization during printing. After the optimization of the printing parameters, a nanometer thin PA hydrogel coating with well distributed nanopores was achieved on top of a stand-alone carbon nanotubes (CNTs) pattern. Batches of fully inkjet printed PA/CNT modified electrodes were prepared that showed outstanding improvements for the electrochemical detection of antioxidants in complex matrices such as untreated orange juice and red wine samples thanks to the properties of the PA coating.