Understanding the force-vs-distance profiles of terminally attached poly(a-isopropyl acrylamide) thin films

In this work, we examine the interaction between thin films composed of terminally anchored poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) (PNIPAAm) immersed in water and test surfaces. Understanding this force of interaction can be important when using PNIPAAm surfaces in biotechnological applications such as biological cell cultures. The two novel contributions that are presented here are (1) the use of a recently developed self-consistent field (SCF) theory to predict the force-vs-distance profiles, and (2) the use of a modified polymer scaling theory to estimate the wet film thickness from experimental force-vs-distance profiles. SCF theory was employed to model the equilibrium structure of the uncompressed PNIPAAm chains, and the force between a compressed polymer film and a test surface as a function of wall separation distance. The parameters that were varied include temperature, polymer molecular weight, and surface coverage. The force-vs-distance profiles obtained at low and high temperatures with the SCF theory were in qualitative agreement with the experimentally measured profiles reported in the literature. We also compared the results of our SCF theoryto the Alexander deGennes scaling theory and found agreement at large separation distance. We also propose a method to estimate the wet polymer film thickness from a force-vs-distance profile obtained from an atomic force microscope measurement. The main novelties of this approach are that we employed a density functional theory corrected version of scaling theory proposed by McCoy et al. [McCoy, J. D.; Curro, J. G. J. Chem. Phys. 2005, 122, 164905], and we provide equations to account for various geometries of AFM tips. © 2009 American Chemical Society.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mendez, S; Andrzejewski, BP; Canavan, HE; Keller, DJ; Mccoy, JD; Lopez, GP; Curro, JG

Published Date

  • 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 25 / 18

Start / End Page

  • 10624 - 10632

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0743-7463

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1021/la9002687

Citation Source

  • SciVal