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Issue 18, 2009
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The molecular surface conformation of surface-tethered polyelectrolytes on PDMS surfaces

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Abstract

Surface properties of polymer materials are important for many applications such as biomedical materials, marine antifouling coatings, polymer membranes for biological and chemical molecule separations, and polymer adhesives. Surface properties are highly dependent on molecular surface structures. Presently, surface polymerization is one of the most effective methods to tailor and optimize molecular surface structures of many polymers. Herein, the surface structure of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is modified by tethering polyelectrolytes (PEs) through surface-initiated ultraviolet (UV) polymerization. Using dimethylacrylamide, acrylic acid, and [2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl]dimethyl(3-sulfopropyl)ammonium as monomers, cationic, anionic, and zwitterionic PEs are grafted onto PDMS surfaces using the “graft-from” method. Successful grafting of PEs onto PDMS surfaces has been verified by several analytical techniques, including Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and contact angle measurement. In particular, sum-frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy has been employed to probe the molecular structure of modified PDMS surfaces in both the dry and hydrated states. It was found that in air, the surface dominating –Si–CH3groups of unmodified PDMS segregate to the PDMS surface along with the grafted PEs. These methyl groups have similar orientations to those on the unmodified PDMS surface: they more or less stand up on the surface, along the surface normal. Upon exposure to water, only SFG signals from the surface-tethered PE chains on the modified PDMS surface are observed, showing a substantial surface restructuring behavior. More details regarding such surface restructuring behavior can be deduced through SFG data analysis. With numerous PDMS applications in aqueous environments, it is of particular importance to modify its surface structures and characterize such surface structures in aqueous environments in situ.

Graphical abstract: The molecular surface conformation of surface-tethered polyelectrolytes on PDMS surfaces

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Article information


Submitted
24 Dec 2008
Accepted
09 Jun 2009
First published
13 Jul 2009

Soft Matter, 2009,5, 3487-3494
Article type
Paper

The molecular surface conformation of surface-tethered polyelectrolytes on PDMS surfaces

Q. Shi, S. Ye, S. A. Spanninga, Y. Su, Z. Jiang and Z. Chen, Soft Matter, 2009, 5, 3487
DOI: 10.1039/B823045E

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