Mussel-inspired anchoring of polymer loops that provide superior surface lubrication and antifouling properties

We describe robustly anchored triblock copolymers that adopt loop conformations on surfaces and endow them with unprecedented lubricating and antifouling properties. The triblocks have two end blocks with catechol-anchoring groups and a looping poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) midblock. The loops mediate strong steric repulsion between two mica surfaces. When sheared at constant speeds of ∼2.5 μm/s, the surfaces exhibit an extremely low friction coefficient of ∼0.002–0.004 without any signs of damage up to pressures of ∼2–3 MPa that are close to most biological bearing systems. Moreover, the polymer loops enhance inhibition of cell adhesion and proliferation compared to polymers in the random coil or brush conformations. These results demonstrate that strongly anchored polymer loops are effective for high lubrication and low cell adhesion and represent a promising candidate for the development of specialized high-performance biomedical coatings.

Kang, T., Banquy, X., Heo, J., Lim, C., Lynd, N. A., Lundberg, P., Dongyeop, X. O, Lee, H. K, Hong, Y. K., Hwang, D. S., Waite, J. H., Israelachvili. J. N. and Hawker, C. J.
ACS Nano
Volume: 10
Number: 1
Pages: 930-937
Date: December, 2015
ICB Affiliated Authors: Craig J Hawker, Jacob N Israelachvili