Thermosensitive copolymer coatings with enhanced wettability switching

Mahaveer D. Kurkuri, Matthew R. Nussio, Alec Deslandes, Nicolas H. Voelcker

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Expanded cross-linked copolymers of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNiPAAm) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAAc) of varying monomer ratios were grafted from a crystalline silicon surface. Surface-tethered polymerization was performed at a slightly basic pH, where electrostatic repulsion among acrylic acid monomer units forces the network into an expanded polymer conformation. The influence of this expanded conformation on switchability between a hydrophilic and a hydrophobic state was investigated. Characterization of the copolymer coating was carried out by means of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) ellipsometry, and diffuse reflectance IR. Lower critical solution temperatures (LCSTs) of the copolymer grafts on the silicon surfaces were determined by spectrophotometry. Temperature-induced wettability changes were studied using sessile drop contact angle measurements. The surface topography was investigated by atomic force microscopy (AFM) in Milli-Q water at 25 and 40°C. The reversible attachment of a fluorescently labeled model protein was studied as a function of temperature using a fluorescence microscope and a fluorescence spectrometer. Maximum switching in terms of the contact angle change around the LCST was observed at a ratio of 36:1 PNiPAAm to PAAc. The enhanced control of biointerfaces achieved by these coatings may find applications in biomaterials, biochips, drug delivery, and microfluidics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4238-4244
Number of pages7
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

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