Counterpropagating Gradients of Antibacterial and Antifouling Polymer Brushes

Yeongun Ko, Vi Khanh Truong, Sun Young Woo, Michael D. Dickey, Lilian Hsiao, Jan Genzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


We report on the formation of counterpropagating density gradients in poly([2-dimethylaminoethyl] methacrylate) (PDMAEMA) brushes featuring spatially varying quaternized and betainized units. Starting with PDMAEMA brushes with constant grafting density and degree of polymerization, we first generate a density gradient of quaternized units by directional vapor reaction involving methyl iodide. The unreacted DMAEMA units are then betainized through gaseous-phase betainization with 1,3-propanesultone. The gas reaction of PDMAEMA with 1,3-propanesultone eliminates the formation of byproducts present during the liquid-phase modification. We use the counterpropagating density gradients of quaternized and betainized PDMAEMA brushes in antibacterial and antifouling studies. Completely quaternized and betainized brushes exhibit antibacterial and antifouling behaviors. Samples containing 12% of quaternized and 85% of betainized units act simultaneously as antibacterial and antifouling surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-430
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Antifouling
  • Chemical reactions
  • Polymers
  • Modification
  • Bacteria


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