Characterization of the molecular structure and mechanical properties of polymer surfaces and protein/polymer interfaces by sum frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy

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Sum frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and other complementary surface-sensitive techniques have been used to study the surface molecular structure and surface mechanical behavior of biologically-relevant polymer systems. SFG and AFM have emerged as powerful analytical tools to deduce structure/property relationships, in situ, for polymers at air, liquid and solid interfaces. The experiments described in this dissertation have been performed to understand how polymer surface properties are linked to polymer bulk composition, substrate hydrophobicity, changes in the ambient environment (e.g., humidity and temperature), or the adsorption of macromolecules. The correlation of spectroscopic and mechanical data by ... continued below

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187 pages

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Koffas, Telly Stelianos May 15, 2004.

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Sum frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and other complementary surface-sensitive techniques have been used to study the surface molecular structure and surface mechanical behavior of biologically-relevant polymer systems. SFG and AFM have emerged as powerful analytical tools to deduce structure/property relationships, in situ, for polymers at air, liquid and solid interfaces. The experiments described in this dissertation have been performed to understand how polymer surface properties are linked to polymer bulk composition, substrate hydrophobicity, changes in the ambient environment (e.g., humidity and temperature), or the adsorption of macromolecules. The correlation of spectroscopic and mechanical data by SFG and AFM can become a powerful methodology to study and engineer materials with tailored surface properties. The overarching theme of this research is the interrogation of systems of increasing structural complexity, which allows us to extend conclusions made on simpler model systems. We begin by systematically describing the surface molecular composition and mechanical properties of polymers, copolymers, and blends having simple linear architectures. Subsequent chapters focus on networked hydrogel materials used as soft contact lenses and the adsorption of protein and surfactant at the polymer/liquid interface. The power of SFG is immediately demonstrated in experiments which identify the chemical parameters that influence the molecular composition and ordering of a polymer chain's side groups at the polymer/air and polymer/liquid interfaces. In general, side groups with increasingly greater hydrophobic character will be more surface active in air. Larger side groups impose steric restrictions, thus they will tend to be more randomly ordered than smaller hydrophobic groups. If exposed to a hydrophilic environment, such as water, the polymer chain will attempt to orient more of its hydrophilic groups to the surface in order to minimize the total surface energy. With an understanding of the structural and environmental parameters which govern polymer surface structure, SFG is then used to explore the effects of surface hydrophobicity and solvent polarity on the orientation and ordering of amphiphilic neutral polymers adsorbed at the solid/liquid interface. SFG spectra show that poly(propylene glycol) (PPG) and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) adsorb with their hydrophobic moieties preferentially oriented toward hydrophobic polystyrene surfaces. These same moieties, however, disorder when adsorbed onto a hydrophilic silica/water interface. Water is identified as a critical factor for mediating the orientation and ordering of hydrophobic moieties in polymers adsorbed at hydrophobic interfaces. The role of bulk water content and water vapor, as they influence hydrogel surface structure and mechanics, continues to be explored in the next series of experiments. A method was developed to probe the surface viscoelastic properties of hydroxylethyl methacrylate (HEMA) based contact lens materials by analyzing AFM force-distance curves. AFM analysis indicates that the interfacial region is dehydrated, relative to the bulk. Experiments performed on poly(HEMA+MA) (MA = methacrylic acid), a more hydrophilic copolymer with greater bulk water content, show even greater water depletion at the surface. SFG spectra, as well as surface energy arguments, suggest that the more hydrophilic polymer component (such as MA) is not favored at the air interface; this may explain anomalies in water retention at the hydrogel surface. Adsorption of lysozyme onto poly(HEMA+MA) was found to further reduce near-surface viscous behavior, suggesting lower surface water content. Lastly, protein adsorption is studied using a model polymer system of polystyrene covalently bound with a monolayer of bovine serum albumin. SFG results indicate that some amino acid residues in proteins adopt preferred orientations. SFG spectra also show that the phenyl rings of the bare polystyrene substrate in contact with air or liquid are ordered, with a dipole component directed along the surface normal, but slightly disorder after protein adsorption. Differences in AFM friction values suggest that protein interacts more strongly with the polystyrene substrate at the air/solid interface. The molecular orientation and ordering of surface phenyl groups are also shown to affect substrate hydrophobicity.

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187 pages

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OSTI as DE00825532

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  • Other Information: TH: Thesis (Ph.D.); Submitted to the University of California, Berkeley, CA (US)

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  • Report No.: LBNL--55154
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 825532
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc778798

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  • May 15, 2004

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Sept. 21, 2017, 6 p.m.

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Koffas, Telly Stelianos. Characterization of the molecular structure and mechanical properties of polymer surfaces and protein/polymer interfaces by sum frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy, thesis or dissertation, May 15, 2004; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc778798/: accessed December 11, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.