Send to

Choose Destination
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2017 Jun 21;9(24):20859-20872. doi: 10.1021/acsami.7b04884. Epub 2017 Jun 6.

Self-Assembling Zwitterionic Copolymers as Membrane Selective Layers with Excellent Fouling Resistance: Effect of Zwitterion Chemistry.

Author information

Tufts University , Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, 4 Colby Street, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, United States.
Tufts University , Department of Physics and Astronomy, 574 Boston Avenue, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, United States.


Membranes with high flux, ∼1 nm pore size, and unprecedented protein fouling resistance were prepared by forming selective layers of self-assembling zwitterionic amphiphilic random copolymers on porous supports by a simple coating method. Random copolymers were prepared from the hydrophobic monomer 2,2,2-trifluoroethyl methacrylate (TFEMA) and four zwitterionic monomers (sulfobetaine methacrylate, sulfobetaine 2-vinylpyridine, sulfobutylbetaine 2-vinylpyridine, and 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine) by free radical polymerization. All copolymers microphase separated to form bicontinuous ∼1.2 nm nanodomains with the zwitterionic domains acting as nanochannels for the permeation of water and solutes. The resultant membranes all had a ∼1 nm size cutoff independent of zwitterion chemistry. There were, however, significant differences in the hydrophilicity, water uptake, water flux, and fouling resistance among membranes prepared with different zwitterionic monomers. Membranes prepared from the copolymer with 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine were the most hydrophilic and had the highest water permeance, higher than that of commercial membranes of similar pore size. Furthermore, these membranes showed unprecedented fouling resistance, exhibiting no measurable flux decline throughout a 24 h protein fouling experiment. The structure-property relationships gleaned from this survey of different zwitterion structures serves as a guideline to develop new zwitterionic materials for various applications such as membranes, drug delivery, and sensors.


fouling; membrane; nanofiltration; phosphorylcholine; self-assembly; sulfobetaine; ultrafiltration; zwitterion


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center