Thermoresponsive surfaces prepared using adsorption of a cationic graft copolymer: A versatile method for triggered particle capture

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    In this study we investigate triggered particle capture at substrates containing adsorbed thermally responsive graft copolymers. The copolymers used were PDMAx+ - g - (PNIPAmn)y, where DMA+ is quaternized N,N-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate and NIPAm is N-isopropylacrylamide. The x and y values originate from the macroinitiator used for copolymer preparation. In this study the copolymers are adsorbed onto two different substrates: quartz microscope slides and microporous, high surface area carbon foam. The substrates were coated with a layer of calcined laponite. The laponite acted as a conditioning layer and promoted strong adsorption of the copolymer. The hydrophobicity of the thermoresponsive surfaces was probed using variable-temperature contact angle measurements. The contact angles generally increased considerably upon increasing the temperature to above the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of the copolymers. The ability of the thermoresponsive surfaces to capture dispersed particles was investigated using anionic and cationic polystyrene (PS) particles. PDMA30+ - g - (PNIPAm210)14 was the most effective copolymer in terms of providing high capture efficiencies of anionic PS particles using temperature as the trigger. The thermoresponsive surfaces strongly held the anionic PS particles even when cooled to below the LCST. The relationships between copolymer structure and particle capture efficiency are discussed. The new approach used here for preparation thermoresponsive surfaces is potentially scalable to high volume applications. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-47
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009


    • Graft copolymer
    • Isopropylacrylamide
    • Particle capture
    • Thermoresponsive


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