Initiated chemical vapor deposition of thermoresponsive poly (N-vinylcaprolactam) thin films for cell sheet engineering

Bora Lee, Alex Jiao, Seungjung Yu, Jae Bem You, Deok Ho Kim, Sung Gap Im

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Poly(N-vinylcaprolactam) (PNVCL) is a thermoresponsive polymer known to be nontoxic, water soluble and biocompatible. Here, PNVCL homopolymer was successfully synthesized for the first time by use of a one-step vapor-phase process, termed initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD). Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy results showed that radical polymerization took place from N-vinylcaprolactam monomers without damaging the functional caprolactam ring. A sharp lower critical solution temperature transition was observed at 31 °C from the iCVD poly(N-vinylcaprolactam) (PNVCL) film. The thermoresponsive PNVCL surface exhibited a hydrophilic/hydrophobic alteration with external temperature change, which enabled the thermally modulated attachment and detachment of cells. The conformal coverage of PNVCL film on various substrates with complex topography, including fabrics and nanopatterns, was successfully demonstrated, which can further be utilized to fabricate cell sheets with aligned cell morphology. The advantage of this system is that cells cultured on such thermoresponsive surfaces could be recovered as an intact cell sheet by simply lowering the temperature, eliminating the need for conventional enzymatic treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7691-7698
Number of pages8
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell sheet engineering
  • ICVD
  • Polymer
  • Thermoresponsive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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