Duke Materials Initiative Seminar: Polymers at Synthetic and Biological Surfaces
The first part of this lecture centers around the use of surface-initiated, controlled radical polymerization for the preparation of thin, surface tethered polymer films ("polymer brushes"). We will show that chain stretching of surface-grafted polymers in good solvents amplifies the tension at polymer brush - substrate interface and can accelerate chemical reactions, e.g. hydrolysis of bonds that tether the polymer chains to the surface. This results in cleavage ("degrafting") of the polymers from the surface.
The second part of this talk will concentrate on biological surfaces and more specifically the membrane of living cells. Cells provide attractive opportunities to develop innovative drug delivery systems. Modifying the surfaces of cells with synthetic polymers or polymer nanoparticles provides manifold opportunities to further enhance their functionality. Successful polymer cell surface engineering, obviously, requires conjugation chemistries that proceed under biological conditions and in high yields and without compromising cell viability and function.