Many applications share a substantial and yet unmet need for prediction and control of interactions between surfaces and proteins or living cells. Examples are blood-contacting biomaterials, biosensors, and non-toxic anti-biofouling coatings for ship hulls. The main focus of this thesis work has been the synthesis, characterization and properties of a group of coatings, designed for such applications. Many types of substrates, particularly plastics, were coated directly with ultrathin, hydrophilic polymer coatings, using a newly developed polymerization method initiated by short-wavelength ultraviolet light.
The thesis contains eight papers and an introduction aimed to provide a context for the research work. The common theme, discussed and analyzed throughout the work, has been the minimization of non-specific binding of proteins to surfaces, thereby limiting the risk of uncontrolled attachment of cells and higher organisms. This has mainly been accomplished through the incorporation of monomer units bearing poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) side chains in the coatings. Such PEG-containing “protein resistant” coatings have been used in this work as matrices for biosensor applications, as blood-contacting inert surfaces and as antibiofouling coatings for marine applications, with excellent results. The properties of the coatings, and their interactions with proteins and cells, have been thoroughly characterized using an array of techniques such as infrared spectroscopy, ellipsometry, atomic force microscopy, surface plasmon resonance and neutron reflectometry. In addition, other routes to fabricate coatings with high protein resistance have also been utilized. For instance, the versatility of the fabrication method has enabled the design of gradients with varying electrostatic charge, affecting the protein adsorption and leading to protein resistance in areas where the charges are balanced.
This thesis also describes a novel application of imaging surface plasmon resonance for the investigation of the surface exploration behavior of marine biofouling organisms, in particular barnacle larvae. This technique allows for real-time assessment of the rate of surface exploration and the deposition of protein-based adhesives onto surfaces, a process which was previously very difficult to investigate experimentally. In this thesis, the method was applied to several model surface chemistries, including the hydrogels described above. The new method promises to provide insights into the interactions between biofouling organisms and a surface during the critical stages prior to permanent settlement, hopefully facilitating the development of antibiofouling coatings for marine applications.
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2010. , 74 p.
2010-03-19, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 00:00 (English)
Liedberg, Bo, ProfessorEderth, Thomas, Dr.