Hydrogel-Immobilized Coacervate Droplets as Modular Microreactor Assemblies

Jianbo Liu*, Liangfei Tian, Yan Qiao, Shaohong Zhou, Avinash J. Patil, Kemin Wang, Mei Li, Stephen Mann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


Immobilization of compartmentalized microscale objects in 3D hydrogels provides a step towards the modular assembly of soft functional materials with tunable architectures and distributed functionalities. Herein, we report the use of a combination of micro-compartmentalization, immobilization, and modularization to fabricate and assemble hydrogel-based microreactor assemblies comprising millions of functionalized polysaccharide–polynucleotide coacervate droplets. The heterogeneous hydrogels can be structurally fused by interfacial crosslinking and coupled as input and output modules to implement a UV-induced photocatalytic/peroxidation nanoparticle/DNAzyme reaction cascade that generates a spatiotemporal fluorescence read-out depending on the droplet number density, intensity of photoenergization, and chemical flux. Our approach offers a route to heterogeneous hydrogels with endogenous reactivity and reconfigurable architecture, and provides a step towards the development of soft modular materials with programmable functionality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6853-6859
Number of pages7
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number17
Early online date10 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2020

Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute


  • cascade reactions
  • coacervates
  • hydrogels
  • microreactor
  • soft matter


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydrogel-Immobilized Coacervate Droplets as Modular Microreactor Assemblies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this