Gamma radiation has been shown particularly useful for the functionalization of surfaces with stimuli-responsive polymers. This method involves the formation of active sites (free radicals) onto the polymeric backbone as a result of the high-energy radiation exposition over the polymeric material. Thus, a microenvironment suitable for the reaction among monomer and/or polymer and the active sites is formed and then leading to propagation to form side-chain grafts. The modification of polymers using high-energy irradiation can be performed by the following methods: direct or simultaneous, pre-irradiation oxidative, and pre-irradiation. The most frequently used ones correspond to the pre-irradiation oxidative method as well as the direct one. Radiation-grafting has many advantages over other conventional methods because it does not require the use of catalyst nor additives to initiate the reaction and usually no changes on the mechanical properties with respect to the pristine polymeric matrix are observed. This chapter is focused on the synthesis of smart polymers and coatings obtained by the use of gamma radiation. In addition, the diverse applications of these materials in the biomedical area are also reported, with focus in drug delivery, sutures, and biosensors.
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- Radiation Grafting for the Functionalization and Development of Smart Polymeric Materials
Víctor H. Pino-Ramos
Jesús E. López-Barriguete
Gustavo H. C. Varca