Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Luzinov, Igor

Committee Member

Drews , Michael J

Committee Member

Lickfield , Gary C

Committee Member

Hirt , Douglas E


Performance of biomedical devices to a large extent depends on the interactions between the device surface and the biological liquids/protein molecules. To achieve controllable interactions between the device and biomolecules and still retain the required mechanical strength on the whole, modification of the surface is often done.
In the present study surface properties were modified through a polymer brush approach. After the modification, surfaces gain tunability toward protein adsorption. Mixed polymer brushes consisting of protein repelling and protein attractive components were used, with a 'grafting to' method employed for the synthesis of polymer layers. First, poly(ethylene glycol), the protein repelling component of the mixed polymer brush, was tethered to the surface. Then, polyacrylic acid-b-polystyrene (the protein attractive component) was grafted on top of the previous layer. As one part of this study, the temperature dependence of grafting of the mixed brush components was studied.
Surface morphology and surface properties of the mixed polymer brush were altered by treating the brush with different organic solvents. Changes in surface morphology and properties resulting from the solvent treatment were studied in dry conditions and in aqueous media. Hydrophobic interactions of the mixed polymer brush in different pH environments were also estimated.
Synthesized mixed polymer brushes demonstrated a clear dependency between the external stimuli applied to the brush and the amount of the protein adsorbed onto the brush surface, allowing an effective control of protein adsorption. Attraction forces iii between the protein molecules and surface of he mixed polymer brush were measured using AFM and these supported the findings from the protein adsorption studies.
2-D molecular imprinting of the polymer brush approach was used to synthesize a surface with controlled positioning of the protein molecules on the surface. Protein adsorption onto the surface of the synthesized imprints was studied and evaluated using TIRF (Total Internal Reflectance fluorescence) and Fluorescence Spectrophotometry. The studies have shown that the synthesized surfaces may be used for spatial control of protein adsorption.



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