Project B1

Switchable polymer films at surfaces

Scheme: example for the switching of the conformation of surface-anchored polymer molecules by external, electromagnetic fields.
Scheme: example for the switching of the conformation of surface-anchored polymer molecules by external, electromagnetic fields.

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. M. Biesalski

Macromolecular Chemistry and Paper Chemistry
Ernst-Berl-Institut für Technische Chemie & Makromolekulare Chemie
TU Darmstadt – Fachbereich Chemie
L2|02 30
Petersenstr. 22
64287 Darmstadt
Tel: +49 6151 16-2177

In project B1, stimuli-responsive macromolecules confined as thin films at planar solid surfaces will be investigated with the aim to understand how light and electric fields can be used as external trigger for a reversible and dynamic switching of polymer conformation, and thus polymer layer properties. The latter is expected to govern the overall surface properties, such as for example adhesion, adsorption or a specific bioactivity of the surface-anchored polymer layer. Project B1 is subdivided into two areas: first light sensitive macromolecules, bearing a spiro-pyrane moiety are synthesized, and anchored via different means (“grafting to“ and “grafting from” techniques, respectively). The swelling/collapse of such layers is studied under external stimuli (UV/VIS-illumination), and these investigations are aimed to improve our understanding of the switching process of such thin “smart” polymer films. Finally, we will investigate the interaction of biological macromolecules (proteins) with such light-responsive polymer films in order to evaluate to possibility of such surfaces to be used in biomedical (or pharmaceutical) applications. In a second part of project B1, we are investigating thin polymer films that are aimed to change their properties upon stimulation with an electric field. Again, the change in macromolecular conformation (swelling/deswelling) is expected to directly affect the film properties, and, once we will understand the underlying principles of the switching process, may become interesting candidates for the design of dynamically responsive surfaces in various applications. Parts of the project will be carried out in close collaboration with project B3, C1, and C4.