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Title: Responsive polymer surfaces
Author: Brown, A. A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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The first chapter of this thesis will discuss the current state of responsive surfaces. Various polymers and monolayers which respond to particular external stimuli are included. The second chapter deals with general surface modification techniques commonly used to tailor surface properties. Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs), grafting-from and grafting-to techniques, and in particular polymer brushes are detailed and compared. The advantages of ATRP over other polymerization techniques, particularly in the surface domain, are also discussed. The third chapter describes in detail the efforts made to synthesize and characterize a responsive polymer surface composed of zwitterionic groups. A thickness dependent wettability and reversible UCST behaviour will be demonstrated, in line with the properties of the same polymer in solution. The fourth chapter considers the use of photolabile protecting groups (PGs) as a means to create latent hydrophilic surfaces. Naturally hydrophobic PGs are used on polymer side changes, poised for cleavage upon exposure to UV light. Removal of the PGs liberates the hydrophilic polymer thereby switching the surface wettability. This system is also shown to be spatially addressable; a highly desirable property for applications which require specific regions of a surface to be responsive. The fifth chapter discusses the formation of well-defined polymer films which change their wettability in response to acid. The development of a self-developing film, by using the chemistry of photoacid generators (PAGs) is the culmination of this research chapter. Again, since UV light is used to trigger the responsive behaviour, surfaces could be patterned allowing for the formation of single films with regions of different wettabilities. The sixth chapter concludes the thesis with an overview of the research performed, and considers the potential directions in which the projects developed could be taken. Further fundamental research into responsive polymer surfaces or their exploitation in developing technologies are both interesting areas for research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available