This article reports the use of atmospheric pressure plasma processing to induce chemical grafting of poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (PEGMA) onto polystyrene (PS) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) surfaces with the aim of attaining an adlayer conformation which is resistant to protein adsorption.
The plasma treatment was carried out using a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) reactor with PEGMA of molecular weights (MW) 1000 and 2000, PEGMA1000 and PEGMA2000, being grafted in a two step procedure: (1) reactive groups are generated on the polymer surface followed by (2) radical addition reactions with the PEGMA. The surface chemistry, coherency, and topography of the resulting PEGMA grafted surfaces were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), and atomic force microscopy (AFM), respectively.
The most coherently grafted PEGMA layers were observed for the 2000 MW PEGMA macromolecule, DBD processed at an energy dose of 105.0 J/cm2 as indicated by ToF-SIMS images. The effect of the chemisorbed PEGMA layer on protein adsorption was assessed by evaluating the surface response to bovine serum albumin (BSA) using XPS. BSA was used as a model protein to determine the grafted macromolecular conformation of the PEGMA layer. Whereas the PEGMA1000 surfaces showed some protein adsorption, the PEGMA2000 surfaces appeared to absorb no measurable amount of protein, confirming the optimum surface conformation for a nonfouling surface.
RA D’Sa and BJ Meenan.Read Article