Effect of Polymer Brush Architecture on Antibiofouling Properties
Gesine Gunkel, Marie Weinhart, Tobias Becherer, Rainer Haag, Wilhelm T. S. Huck – 2011
Polymer brushes show great promise in next-generation antibiofouling surfaces. Here, we have studied the influence of polymer brush architecture on protein resistance. By carefully optimizing reaction conditions, we were able to polymerize oligoglycerol-based brushes with sterically demanding linear or dendronized side chains on gold surfaces. Protein adsorption from serum and plasma was analyzed by surface plasmon resonance. Our findings reveal a pronounced dependence of biofouling on brush architecture. Bulky yet flexible side chains as in dendronized brushes provide an ideal environment to repel protein—possibly through formation of a hydration layer, which can be further enhanced by presenting free hydroxyl groups on the polymer brushes. A deeper understanding of how brush architecture influences protein resistance will ultimately enable fabrication of surface coatings tailored to specific requirements in biomedical applications.