Hydrogel products constitute a group of polymeric materials, the hydrophilic structure of which renders them capable of holding large amounts of water in their three-dimensional networks. Hydrogels are becoming more and more popular as platforms for three-dimensional (3D) cell culturing. 3D hydrogel matrices have been used for a variety of applications, including tissue engineering of micro-organ systems, drug delivery, cytotoxicity testing, and drug screening.
Although we imagine gel as a perfect network, in reality, due to the polymeric domains created by crosslinking, in the gel microstructure, hydrogels are not homogenous. Voids in the microstructure of the gel where crosslinking agent or monomer has aggregated during polymerization can cause solvent to diffuse into or out of the hydrogel. The microstructure of hydrogel therefore are not constant, and imperfections occur where water from outside of the gel can accumulate these voids.
Nanolive’s technology provides a new approach to check in real-time the morphological features of these hydrogels: the 3D Cell Explorer allows to obtain a complete tomography of these structures pointing out all the imperfections and localize them in 3D.
Sepharose hydrogel bead
Hydrogel sepahrose bead, 52 microns diameter. The digitally stained based on the different RI values of the structure. External border in purple, inner structure in blue, core internal part and the structural imperfections (more compact and dense) in Red.
4 slices from a 96 layers tomography acquisition of a hydrogel sepharose bead obtained by the 3D Cell Explorer, between the first and the last acquisition there is a Z thickness of 12 microns. The structural imperfections appear as the brighter spots inside the grey structure.
Learn more about the 3D Cell Explorer
Read more about the 3D Cell Explorer here and learn how to use it in 1 minute in this video
Discover all the secrets of the 3D Cell Explorer on our Introductory webinar
Learn how to digitally stain your cells with our software STEVE, in 1 minute
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