Nanomaterials (Basel) 2021 May 21;11(6). Epub 2021 May 21.
Department of Applied Mechanics and Project Engineering, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Plaza Manuel Meca 1, 13400 Almadén, Spain.
Ureasil-Poly(ethylene oxide) (ureasil-PEO500) and ureasil-Poly(propylene oxide) (u-PPO400) films, unloaded and loaded with dexamethasone acetate (DMA), have been investigated by carrying out atomic force microscopy (AFM), ultrasonic force microscopy (UFM), contact-angle, and drug release experiments. In addition, X-ray diffraction, small angle X-ray scattering, and infrared spectroscopy have provided essential information to understand the films' structural organization. Our results reveal that while in u-PEO500 DMA occupies sites near the ether oxygen and remains absent from the film surface, in u-PPO400 new crystalline phases are formed when DMA is loaded, which show up as ~30-100 nm in diameter rounded clusters aligned along a well-defined direction, presumably related to the one defined by the characteristic polymer ropes distinguished on the surface of the unloaded u-POP film; occasionally, larger needle-shaped DMA crystals are also observed. Read More