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Smart surfaces

The surfaces with grafted smart polymers, so called smart surfaces (SS) respond in a strong and predefined way to small changes in environment like temperature, pH, ionic strength, the presence of specific chemicals. A new grafting chemistry has been developed to control the wettability of the surface in response to temperature or in response to the presence of a certain chemical, e.g. sugar. We are trying to exploit the unique properties of SS in different biotechnological systems. We have developed SS with boronate ligands using newly developed graft-copolymerization of N,N-dimethylacrylamide (DMAA) and N-acryloyl-m-phenylboronic acid (NAAPBA).

Photographs of droplets of deionized water: on clean glass (a), on 3-mercaptopropyl-modified glass (b), on the modified glass grafted with DMAA-NAABA copolymer, at 25 °C. All the photos were taken in 10 min after the droplet deposition.

The polymer brushes were characterized with time-of-flight secondary ion mass-spectrometry (ToF SIMS). Fructose caused a drop spreading on the surface of. Cancer cells differ in their ability to attach to the DMAA-NAAPBA copolymer-grafted glass plates, however the adhered cells are efficiently detached from the grafted plates with fructose solution as fructose competes with cell surface carbohydrates for binding to the boronate ligands and promotes conformational changes in the boronate-containing copolymer. Possible applications of the boronate-containing polymer brushes to affinity cell separation can be based upon the different binding strengths of different mammalian cell lines to the polymer grafts as well as on the facile recovery of the attached cells. 

Igor Galaev, Bo Mattiasson
Researchers: Dr. Alexander Ivanov
Visiting researchers: Marina Kuzimenkova (Russia), Natalia Zhuravleva (Sweden)