Kinetic Control in the Temperature-Dependent Sequential Growth of Surface-Confined Supramolecular Copolymers
We report the sequential growth of supramolecular copolymers on gold surfaces, using oppositely charged dendritic peptide amphiphiles. By including water-solubilising thermoresponsive chains in the monomer design we observed non-linear effects in the temperature-dependent sequential growth. The step-wise copolymerisation process is characterised using temperature dependent SPR and QCM-D measurements. At higher temperatures, dehydration of peripheral oligoethylene glycol chains supports copolymer growth due to more favourable comonomer interactions. Both monomers incorporate methionine amino acids but remarkably, desorption of the copolymers via competing sulphur gold interactions with the initial monomer layer is not observed. The surface-confined supramolecular copolymers remain kinetically trapped on the metal surface at near neutral pH and form viscoelastic films with a tuneable thickness.