Electrochemically assisted hydrogel deposition, shaping and detachment

Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan, Lukasz Poltorak, Ernst J.R. Sudhölter, Eduardo Mendes, Jan van Esch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This work describes a facile approach allowing Dibenzoyl-L-Cystine (DBC) based hydrogel controlled deposition and controlled detachments over a conducting support. The method itself is an electrochemically assisted approach, where the water oxidation at the electrode surface results in a local pH drop inducing DBC gelation and hydrogel formation. We have comprehensively described the possibility of the hydrogel shaping by alternating the anodic deposition potential, DBC concentration and finally the working electrode geometry. The latter includes macro-electrodes in a form of platinum discs having diameter equal to 200 and 500 μm; hexagonal arrays of circular platinum microelectrodes with a diameter of a single electrode equal to 5 or 10 μm and custom made platinum microelectrodes, having the shape of circles, triangles and squares, that are used to shape the microgels. Over the course of our work we were able to define the conditions to form a number of different hydrogel shapes such as: (i) flat and planar deposits; (ii) hemispherical deposits with an oxygen bubble pocket; (iii) spongy hydrogel structures or (iv) hemispherical micro-cups build from radially oriented DBC fibres directionally growing from the support. Furthermore, we were also able to remotely form and then detach the hydrogel deposit in the initial formulation solution using only an electrochemical trigger. Our work represents a solid proof of concept and opens a number of new avenues for the electrochemically assisted soft matter fabrication down to micrometre scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136352
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Electrochemically assisted deposition
  • Low molecular weight hydrogelator
  • Microelectrodes
  • Structured hydrogel
  • Surface modification


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