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Poly(ethylene glycol) Adlayers Immobilized to Metal Oxide Substrates Through Catechol Derivatives: Influence of Assembly Conditions on Formation and Stability

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journal contribution
posted on 16.03.2010, 00:00 by Barbora Malisova, Samuele Tosatti, Marcus Textor, Karl Gademann, Stefan Zürcher
We have investigated five different poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG, 5 kDa) catechol derivatives in terms of their spontaneous surface assembly from aqueous solution, adlayer stability, and resistance to nonspecific blood serum adsorption as a function of the type of catechol-based anchor, assembly conditions (temperature, pH), and type of substrate (SiO2, TiO2, Nb2O5). Variable-angle spectroscopic ellipsometry (VASE) was used for layer thickness evaluation, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) for layer composition, and ultraviolet−visible optical spectroscopy (UV−vis) for cloud point determination. Polymer surface coverage was influenced by the type of catechol anchor, type of the substrate, as well as pH and temperature (T) of the assembly solution. Furthermore, it was found to be highest for T close to the cloud point (TCP) and pH of the assembly solution close to pKa1 (dissociation constant of the first catechol hydroxy group) of the polymer and to the isoelectric point (IEP) of the substrate. TCP turned out to depend on not only the ionic strength of the assembly solution, but also the type of catechol derivative and pH. PEG-coating dry thickness above 10 Å correlated with low serum adsorption. We therefore conclude that optimum coating protocols for catechol-based polymer assembly at metal oxide interfaces have to take into account specific physicochemical properties of the polymer, anchor, and substrate.