Among various fabrication techniques to produce a porous scaffold, thermally-induced phase separation at controlled cryogenic condition leads to the formation of a porous polymeric cryostructure alias cryogel or cryomatrix. Cryostructurization is one of the simple and versatile methods of synthesizing a highly porous and interconnected architecture. The process of cryostructurization is present in comparable fabrication approach of fabricating advanced porous biomaterials with precise control over multiple compositions of precursor units, spatial distributions for accomplishing effective recapitulation of mechanical properties and architectural accuracy at micron-scale with bioactive functionality. The cryogenically-structured polymeric scaffolds are of noteworthy fundamental and applied interest in multi-disciplinary areas of science and showed promising matrices in various biotechnological and biomedical areas. The large interconnected pores in cryogels open up a range of applications like the three-dimensional substrate for cell growth, bioreactor for continuous production of scarce molecules, bio-processing and protein purification, an adsorbent for environmental remediation, and biosensor fabrication. Over the past two decades, significant attention to these materials with rigorous expansion in their new designs, and remarkable growth in the number of the publications and patents on cryostructured porous materials has been noticed. This article is covering the progress in cryostructurization technology in the last few decades with principles underlying the mechanism of cryogelation, process optimization, and the recent trend in cryogel for biomedical and bioengineering applications.
Volume 134, 2022
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