Enhanced stability of low fouling zwitterionic polymer brushes in seawater with diblock architecture

R. Quintana, M. Gosa, D. Janczewski, E. Kutnyanszky, Gyula J. Vancso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)
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The successful implementation of zwitterionic polymeric brushes as antifouling materials for marine applications is conditioned by the stability of the polymer chain and the brush-anchoring segment in seawater. Here we demonstrate that robust, antifouling, hydrophilic polysulfobetaine-based brushes with diblock architecture can be fabricated by atom-transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) using initiator-modified surfaces. Sequential living-type polymerization of hydrophobic styrene or methyl methacrylate and commercially available hydrophilic sulfobetaine methacrylamide (SBMAm) monomer is employed. Stability enhancement is accomplished by protecting the siloxane anchoring bond of brushes on the substrate, grafted from silicon oxide surfaces. The degradation of unprotected PSBMAm brushes is clearly evident after a 3 month immersion challenge in sterilized artificial seawater. Ellipsometry and atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements are used to follow changes in coating thickness and surface morphology. Comparative stability results indicate that surface-tethered poly(methyl methacrylate) and polystyrene hydrophobic blocks substantially improve the stability of zwitterionic brushes in an artificial marine environment. In addition, differences between the hydration of zwitterionic brushes in fresh and salt water are discussed to provide a better understanding of hydration and degradation processes with the benefit of improved design of polyzwitterionic coatings
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10859-10867
Number of pages9
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • IR-90065
  • METIS-299856


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