A Light Activated Biorubber for Adhesives, Sealants, and Controlled Release Technologies

Abstract/Technology Overview

This technology is a non-toxic, biodegradable adhesive that allows bonding on wet surfaces, sealing of porous surfaces, and encapsulation of small molecules for controlled release devices. It is formulated with liquid polycaprolactone, a bioresorbable polymer, that has been exploited for production of polyurethane adhesives, medical devices, and drug delivery systems. The adhesive is hydrophobic, VOC-free, and is liquid at room temperature, and contains no toxic free radical initiators, hardeners, or other environmentally unfriendly ingredients. Upon activation by a simple hand-held UV LED, the liquid adhesive transitions into a cross-linked, expanding biorubber that non-specifically adheres to almost any surface. By exploiting carbene-crosslinking chemistry, it avoids the limitations associated with acrylates, epoxies, and urethane resins.

This technology is currently being explored for tissue adhesives, medical coatings, controlled-release encapsulants, and cosmetics.

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

This technology has the following features:

  • Liquid phase at ambient temperatures with apparent viscosities under 1 Pa.s (1,000 cP), requires no dilution in aqueous or organic solvents – in the pure form, it flows easily via syringe or other liquid applicators.
  • Available in a range of viscosities and cured material properties – cured elasticity can be tuned precisely for application specific properties due to the flexibility of the synthetic methodology. The synthetic methodology allows a scalable yield production, from laboratory batch production to continuous reactor-scale production.
  • Naturally hydrophobic material that prevents water infiltration into the polymer matrix – allows long-term shelf storage of 12 months or greater at ambient conditions.
  • Can act as water impenetrable sealants and coatings on both dry and wet surfaces –can be modified to be both aqueous porous and non-porous with pore-forming additives.
  • Unique formulations allow temporary reduction of adhesive fouling caused by surface water-hydration – the amount of surface water-hydration is reduced, after 10 seconds, upon contact with wet substrates. Subsequent UV-LED curing allows increased substrate bonding.
  • The inclusion of polycaprolactone precursors allows linear and branched polycaprolactones to be dissolved – formulate unique composites, for pre- and post-cured adhesives, with tunable chemical and mechanical properties.
  • Adhesive curing is activated through UV-A irradiation over a wide range of intensities – enables partial curing to control viscosity (sealants) and end-stage material properties.
  • Allows bonding on nearly all substrates, including thermo-labile, flexible, or hydrated surfaces.

Potential Applications

Medical Applications:

  • Tissue adhesives
  • Medical coatings
  • Biosensor implants
  • Topical skin therapies
  • Drug depots
  • Biologics encapsulation
  • Dental restorations
  • Minimally invasive surgeries
  • Soft tissue sealants
  • Plastic surgery fillers

Biotechnology Applications:

  • Green adhesives
  • Non-fouling surfaces
  • 3D cell culture
  • Multi-purpose sealants
  • Cosmetics
  • Temporary tattoos/skin explants
  • Controlled chemical release
  • Fragrances
  • Aquarium cements
  • Expanding fillers
  • Biosensors
  • Veterinarian products

Customer Benefit

Widely customisable biopolymer that is rapidly tailored for unique and unmet applications.  

Contact Person

Geraldine Lau


Nanyang Technological University - NTUitive Pte Ltd

Technology Category
  • Coatings/Paints
  • Polymers/Plastic
  • Medical Devices
  • Biotech Research Reagents & Tools
  • Joining
  • Cosmetics & Hair
Technology Readiness Level
  • TRL 5

adhesive, coatings, sealants, polycaprolactone, medical implant, glue