3 years ago

Loops and Cycles at Surfaces: The Unique Properties of Topological Polymer Brushes

Loops and Cycles at Surfaces: The Unique Properties of Topological Polymer Brushes
Lucca Trachsel, Edmondo M. Benetti, Mohammad Divandari, Giulia Morgese, Shivaprakash N. Ramakrishna, Wenqing Yan
Grafting synthetic polymers to inorganic and organic surfaces to yield polymer “brushes” has represented a revolution in many fields of materials science. Polymer brushes provide colloidal stabilization to nanoparticles (NPs), prevent and/or regulate the adsorption of proteins on biomaterials, and significantly reduce friction when applied to two surfaces sheared against each other. Can the performance of polymer brushes as steric stabilizers and boundary lubricants be improved? The answer to this question encompasses the application of polymer grafts presenting different chain topologies, beyond linearity. In particular, grafted polymers forming loops and cycles at the surface have been recently demonstrated to enable the modulation of interfacial physicochemical properties, including nanomechanical and nanotribological, to an extent that is difficultly addressed by using their linear counterparts. Loop and cyclic polymer brushes provide enhanced steric stabilization to surfaces, increase their biopassivity and show superlubricious behavior. Their distinctive structure, the methods applied to fabricate them and their application in several technologically relevant fields of materials science are reviewed in this contribution. Going in circles: Grafting polymers capable of forming loops or cyclic macromolecules to yield brush films on surfaces, enables the distinctive physicochemical properties of linear brushes to be surpassed. In this Minireview the fabrication, characterization and applications of these polymer assemblies on flat surfaces and nanoparticles is summarized.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/chem.201701940

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