Detaching tissue adhesive from the hydrogel after applying the triggering solution for 5 min. (Credit: MIT)

A double-sided adhesive can be detached from the underlying tissue without causing any damage. Last year, the engineers developed the adhesive, which could quickly and firmly stick to wet surfaces such as biological tissues. By applying a liquid solution, the new version can be peeled away like a slippery gel in case it needs to be adjusted during surgery, for example, or removed once the tissue has healed.

To the original material, they added a new disulfide linker molecule, which can be placed between covalent bonds with a tissue’s surface proteins. The team chose to synthesize this particular molecule because its bonds, while strong, can be easily severed if exposed to a particular reducing agent.

The researchers also fabricated a version of the adhesive that they etched with tiny channels the solution can also diffuse through. This design should be particularly useful if the tape were used to attach implants and other medical devices.

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