Journal of Adhesion

Creating Smart Polymer Surfaces with Selective Adhesion Properties

View publication


A new concept for polymer surface modification is described that employs surface-active ω-functional block copolymers as additives to create polymers with smart sufaces. The block copolymers are composed of three components: a low surface energy block that causes the copolymer to segregate to the surface of the matrix homopolymer to which it is added, an anchor block that tethers the copolymer into that matrix, and a functional group located at the terminus of the surface-active block. The functional end group is selected to interact selectively with a complementary receptor on the target substrate. When the modified polymer surface and a substrate are placed in contact, adhesion is enhanced only if the functional end group senses an appropriate receptor on that substrate with which it can form the specific interaction. If a receptor is not present, the modified surface exhibits release properties. This class of copolymer additives can thereby be employed to create smart polymer surfaces with selective adhesive properties. We present preliminary results that demonstrate how this new concept can be employed to modify the surface of polystyrene and impart selective adhesion toward either poly(methyl methacrylate) or poly(dimethylsiloxane) substrates.