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Sunday, 15 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies, Functional coatings

Marrying mussel inspired chemistry with photoiniferters

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

In a study, Chinese researchers from Soochow University present a novel strategy to prepare functional interfaces.

Marrying mussel inspired chemistry with photoiniferters - a novel strategy for surface functionalisation. Source: berwis/pixelio.de

Marrying mussel inspired chemistry with photoiniferters - a novel strategy for surface functionalisation. Source: berwis/pixelio.de

Covalent tethering of well-defined polymer brushes to a surface is a very attractive tool for the tailoring and control of interfacial properties. Herein, a new catechol-based biomimetic photoiniferter agent Dopa-DETC is designed and used to prepare polymer layer modified surfaces through both "grafting to” and "grafting from” strategies.

Successful immobilisation

Dopa-DETC contains a catechol unit fragment for anchoring on substrates and N,N-diethyldithiocarbamate groups for photoinitiating polymerisation of monomers. For the "grafting to” approach, N-isopropylacrylamide, 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate and N-vinylpyrrolidone monomers were firstly polymerised in the presence of the Dopa-DETC agent via UV photoinitiated polymerisation. The results of gel permeation chromatography (GPC) demonstrated that the range of polydispersity indices (PDI) of the resulting homopolymers is from 1.3 to 1.7. 1H NMR spectra and re-initiated photopolymerisation indicated that the catechol and diethyldithiocarbamyl groups remained at each end of the homopolymer chains. Subsequent successful immobilisation of the obtained dopamine end-functionalised polymers on titanium surfaces was characterised by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and water contact angle measurements.

Efficient chemistry

On the other hand, for the "grafting from” method, the Dopa-DETC agent was firstly immobilised on gold surfaces through the aid of dopamine-hydrochloride in a weak alkaline solution (pH 8.5), the homopolymer brushes of poly(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate) (PDMAEMA) and block copolymer brushes of poly (2-(dimethylamino) ethylmethacrylate-b-(3-acrylamide)benzene boric acid) (P(DMAEMA-b-BA)) were grown from the gold surfaces under UV light. The resulting polymer films were characterised by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), contact angle measurements, ellipsometric measurements and reflectance Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Overall, the results highlighted the efficiency of dopamine chemistry coupled with the photoiniferter based surface grafting strategy.

The study is published in: Polymer Chemistry, Issue 35, 2016.

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