Hydrogels are soft materials composed of a three-dimensional network which contain a high percentage of water similar to body tissue and are therefore regarded as a biocompatible material. Hydrogels have various potential applications in the biomedical field such as drug delivery and as scaffold for tissue engineering. Control over the physical properties of a hydrogel by an external stimulus is highly desirable and is therefore actively studied. Light is a particularly interesting stimulus to manipulate the properties of a hydrogel as it is a remote stimulus that can be controlled spatially and temporally with great ease and convenience. Therefore in recent years photoresponsive hydrogels have been investigated as an emerging biomaterial. Here we will review recent developments and discuss these new materials, and their applications in the biomedical field.
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