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Photoreactive oligoethylene glycol polymers - versatile compounds for surface modification by thin hydrogel films

: Buller, J.; Laschewsky, A.; Wischerhoff, E.


Soft matter 9 (2013), Nr.3, S.929-937
ISSN: 1744-683X
ISSN: 1744-6848
Fraunhofer IAP ()

Solid surfaces are modified using photo-crosslinkable copolymers based on oligo(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (OEGMA) bearing 2-(4-benzoylphenoxy) ethyl methacrylate (BPEM) as a photosensitive crosslinking unit. Thin films of about 100 nm are formed by spin-coating these a priori highly biocompatible copolymers onto silicon substrates. Subsequent UV-irradiation assures immobilization and crosslinking of the hydrogel films. Their stability is controlled by the number of crosslinker units per chain and the molar mass of the copolymers. The swelling of the hydrogel layers, as investigated by ellipsometry, can be tuned by the crosslinker content in the copolymer. If films are built from the ternary copolymers of OEGMA, BPEM and 2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethyl methacrylate (MEO(2)MA), the hydrogel films exhibit a swelling/deswelling transition of the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) type. The observed thermally induced hydrogel collapse is fully reversible and the onset temperature of the transition can be tuned at will by the copolymer composition. Different from analogously prepared thermo-responsive hydrogel films of photocrosslinked poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), the swelling-deswelling transition occurs more gradually, but shows no hysteresis.