Conjugated Polymer for Voltage-Controlled Release of Molecules

Shenghua Liu, Ying Fu, Guijun Li, Li Li, Helen Ka wai Law, Xianfeng Chen, Feng Yan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


KGaA, Weinheim Conjugated polymers are attractive in numerous biological applications because they are flexible, biocompatible, cost-effective, solution-processable, and electronic/ionic conductive. One interesting application is for controllable drug release, and this has been realized previously using organic electronic ion pumps. However, organic electronic ion pumps show high operating voltages and limited transportation efficiency. Here, the first report of low-voltage-controlled molecular release with a novel organic device based on a conjugated polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) is presented. The releasing rate of molecules can be accurately controlled by the duration of the voltage applied on the device. The use of a handy mobile phone to remotely control the releasing process and its application in delivering an anticancer drug to treat cancer cells are also successfully demonstrated. The working mechanism of the device is attributed to the unique switchable permeability of poly(3-hexylthiophene) in aqueous solutions under a bias voltage that can tune the wettability of poly(3-hexylthiophene) via oxidation or reduction processes. The organic devices are expected to find many promising applications for controllable drug delivery in biological systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1701733
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2017


  • conjugated polymers
  • controlled release
  • organic bioelectronics
  • organic semiconductors
  • tunable wettability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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