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Spin-Casting Polymer Brush Films for Stimuli-Responsive and Anti-Fouling Surfaces

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-02-24, 00:00 authored by Binbin Xu, Chun Feng, Jianhua Hu, Ping Shi, Guangxin Gu, Lei Wang, Xiaoyu Huang
Surfaces modified with amphiphilic polymers can dynamically alter their physicochemical properties in response to changes of their environmental conditions; meanwhile, amphiphilic polymer coatings with molecular hydrophilic and hydrophobic patches, which can mitigate biofouling effectively, are being actively explored as advanced coatings for antifouling materials. Herein, a series of well-defined amphiphilic asymmetric polymer brushes containing hetero side chains, hydrophobic polystyrene (PS) and hydrophilic poly­(ethylene glycol) (PEG), was employed to prepare uniform thin films by spin-casting. The properties of these films were investigated by water contact angle, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and quartz crystal microbalance (QCM). AFM showed smooth surfaces for all films with the roughness less than 2 nm. The changes in water contact angle and C/O ratio (XPS) evidenced the enrichment of PEG or PS chains at film surface after exposed to selective solvents, indicative of stimuli- responsiveness. The adsorption of proteins on PEG functionalized surface was quantified by QCM and the results verified that amphiphilic polymer brush films bearing PEG chains could lower or eliminate protein-material interactions and resist to protein adsorption. Cell adhesion experiments were performed by using HaCaT cells and it was found that polymer brush films possess good antifouling ability.