Polymer brushes allow to tailor surface properties such as wettability, biocompatibility, cell, bacteria or protein resistance, adhesion or lubrication due to their varied chemical composition and functionality. When stimulus-responsive chains are used, the physicochemical properties of the brush can be changed upon application of a external field (temperature, pH and ionic strength, particular solutes (i.e. glucose), light, voltage or a combination of two of them) that triggers the transition between the extended and the collapsed states. Applications of these systems in microfluidics, mechanical actuators, cell culture technologies, anti-fog systems or in membranes for separation technologies have been envisioned and in part demonstrated.
- Cui, J., Azzaroni, O. and del Campo, A. (2011), Polymer Brushes with Phototriggered and Phototunable Swelling and pH Response. Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 32: 1699–1703. doi: 10.1002/marc.201100435
- Light-activated gating and permselectivity in interfacial
architectures combining “caged” polymer brushes and mesoporous thin
films, A. Brunsen, J. Cui, M. Ceolín, A. del Campo, G.J.A.A.
Soler-Illia, O. Azzaroni, Chem Comm (2012) DOI: 10.1039/C1CC14443J