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Langmuir. 2007 Jun 19;23(13):7306-13. Epub 2007 May 15.

Plasma-mediated grafting of poly(ethylene glycol) on polyamide and polyester surfaces and evaluation of antifouling ability of modified substrates.

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  • 1Center for Plasma-Aided Manufacturing, 1410 Engineering Drive, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


A simple cold plasma technique was developed to functionalize the surfaces of polyamide (PA) and polyester (PET) for the grafting of polyethylene glycol (PEG) with the aim of reducing biofilm formation. The surfaces of PA and PET were treated with silicon tetrachloride (SiCl4) plasma, and PEG was grafted onto plasma-functionalized substrates (PA-PEG, PET-PEG). Different molecular weights of PEG and grafting times were tested to obtain optimal surface coverage by PEG as monitored by electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA). The presence of a predominant C-O peak on the PEG-modified substrates indicated that the grafting was successful. Data from hydroxyl group derivatization and water contact angle measurement also indicated the presence of PEG after grafting. The PEG-grafted PA and PET under optimal conditions had similar chemical composition and hydrophilicity; however, different morphology changes were observed after grafting. Both PA-PEG and PET-PEG surfaces developed under optimal plasma conditions showed about 96% reduction in biofilm formation by Listeria monocytogenes compared with that of the corresponding unmodified substrates. This plasma functionalization method provided an efficient way to graft PEG onto PA and PET surfaces. Because of the high reactivity of Si-Cl species, this method could potentially be applied to other polymeric materials.

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