Photosensitive layer-by-layer assemblies containing azobenzene groups: Synthesis and biomedical applications

Uichi Akiba, Daichi Minaki, Jun Ichi Anzai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This review provides an overview of the syntheses of photosensitive layer-by-layer (LbL) films and microcapsules modified with azobenzene derivatives and their biomedical applications. Photosensitive LbL films and microcapsules can be prepared by alternate deposition of azobenzene-bearing polymers and counter polymers on the surface of flat substrates and microparticles, respectively. Azobenzene residues in the films and microcapsules exhibit trans-to-cis photoisomerization under UV light, which causes changes in the physical or chemical properties of the LbL assemblies. Therefore, azobenzene-functionalized LbL films and microcapsules have been used for the construction of photosensitive biomedical devices. For instance, cell adhesion on the surface of a solid can be controlled by UV light irradiation by coating the surface with azobenzene-containing LbL films. In another example, the ion permeability of porous materials coated with LbL films can be regulated by UV light irradiation. Furthermore, azobenzene-containing LbL films and microcapsules have been used as carriers for drug delivery systems sensitive to light. UV light irradiation triggers permeability changes in the LbL films and/or decomposition of the microcapsules, which results in the release of encapsulated drugs and proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Article number553
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 25


  • Azobenzene
  • Cell adhesion
  • Controlled release
  • Ion gate
  • Layer-by-layer
  • Microcapsule
  • Photoresponse
  • Photosensitive
  • Thin film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics


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