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“Click-Functional” Block Copolymers Provide Precise Surface Functionality via Spin Coating

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journal contribution
posted on 15.07.2008, 00:00 by Hernán R. Rengifo, Lu Chen, Cristian Grigoras, Jingyue Ju, Jeffrey T. Koberstein
There are few existing methods for the quantitative functionalization of surfaces, especially for polymeric substrates. We demonstrate that alkyne end-functional diblock copolymers can be used to provide precise areal densities of reactive functionality on both hard (e.g., glass and silicon oxide) and soft (i.e., polymeric) substrates. Alkyne functionality is extremely versatile because the resultant functional surfaces are reactive toward azide functional molecules by Sharpless click chemistry. Spin-coated films of α-alkyne-ω-Br-poly(tert-butylacrylate-b-methylmethacrylate) (poly(tBA-MMA)) spontaneously self-assemble on the aforementioned substrates to present a surface monolayer of PtBA with a thickness in the range of 1 to 9 nm. The PMMA block physisorbs to provide multivalent anchoring onto hard substrates and is fixed onto polymer surfaces by interpenetration with the substrate polymer. The areal density of alkyne functional groups is precisely controlled by adjusting the thickness of the block copolymer monolayer, which is accomplished by changing either the spin coating conditions (i.e., rotational speed and solution concentration) or the copolymer molecular weight. The reactivity of surface-bound alkynes, in 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reactions or by so-called “click chemistry”, is demonstrated by covalent surface immobilization of fluorescently labeled azides. The modificed surfaces are characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM), contact angle, ellipsometry, fluorescent imaging and angle-dependent X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (ADXPS) measurements. Microarrays of covalently bound fluorescent molecules are created to demonstrate the approach and their performance is evaluated by determining their fluorescence signal-to-noise ratios.

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