Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Advances in the Synthesis and Application of Polycaprolactone Shape Memory Polymer Biomaterials

Shape memory polymers (SMPs) are a promising class of responsive materials that have recently gained widespread interest for their unique applications in biomaterials science. The present work describes the synthesis and characterization of novel polycaprolactone (PCL) SMPs. A series of PCL thermosets were synthesized from linear and branched PCL prepolymers of different molecular weights. The PCL networks showed excellent control over the transition temperature and outstanding shape memory properties. A double replica soft lithographic technique was then used to fabricate dynamic PCL surfaces capable of transitioning between microarrays of different sizes and shapes. An equally important of objective of this research was to demonstrate the viability of these SMP surfaces as a highly versatile and controlled means of dynamic cell culture, specifically for the purpose of investigating cell-topography interactions. The morphology of human mesenchymal stem cells was topographically directed through the application of the surface shape memory effect at physiological temperature. Lastly, gold nanoshell/PCL nanocomposites were synthesized for remote activation of the shape memory effect via near-infrared irradiation. The nanocomposites demonstrated excellent shape fixation and recovery in response to low laser power intensities at nanoshell weight fractions of 0.5 and 1.0 wt%.