Silver hydrogels are commonly used in biomedical applications as antimicrobial wound dressings and gels. These topical wound care products typically utilize silver nanoparticles to provide antimicrobial activity by slowly releasing silver ions. While these materials demonstrate an adequate level of antimicrobial activity, the silver nanoparticles exhibit toxicity at high concentrations.


LLNL scientists developed novel hydrogels, which are biodegradable soft materials synthesized by a water-soluble polymer. Incorporating silver imparts antimicrobial activity to the material at low concentration compared to currently used silver nanoparticles. Our hydrogels are composed of silver ions instead of silver nanoparticles, which eliminates the toxicity concerns of modern silver hydrogels. The hydrogels may be applied directly as a topical treatment for burns and wounds or may be added to a bandage or wound dressing.

  • Provides antimicrobial activity to reduce or prevent infection
  • Water soluble materials require no hazardous solvents
Potential Applications
  • Topical burn or wound gel
  • Wound dressings
  • Surface decontamination
  • Sterilizing surgical instruments
Development Status

LLNL has filed a patent application covering this technology (LLNL internal case # IL-13430)

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