Photoresponsive soft materials are everywhere in the nature, from human's retina tissues to plants, and have been the inspiration for engineers in the development of modern biomedical materials. Light as an external stimulus is particularly attractive because it is relatively cheap, noninvasive to superficial biological tissues, can be delivered contactless and offers high spatiotemporal control. In the biomedical field, soft materials that respond to long wavelength or that incorporate a photon upconversion mechanism are desired to overcome the limited UV-visible light penetration into biological tissues. Upon light exposure, photosensitive soft materials respond through mechanisms of isomerization, crosslinking or cleavage, hyperthermia, photoreactions, electrical current generation, among others. In this review, we discuss the most recent applications of photosensitive soft materials in the modulation of cellular behavior, for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, in drug delivery and for phototherapies.
Keywords: Cell Behavior; Drug Delivery; Photocleavage; Photodynamic; Photoisomerization; Phototherapies; Photothermal; Photovoltaic/Optoelectronic; Regenerative Medicine; Smart Soft Materials.
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