Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Advanced Engineering Materials


We report a method for modulating the physicochemical properties of surfaces that is based on the reactive layer-by-layer fabrication of covalently crosslinked thin films using azlactone-functionalized copolymers. We demonstrate that copolymers containing different molar ratios of methyl methacrylate (MMA) and 2-vinyl-4,4-dimethylazlactone (VDMA) can be alternately deposited with poly(ethyleneimine) to assemble covalently crosslinked thin films. Characterization using ellipsometry demonstrates that, in general, film growth and thickness decrease as the content of reactive, azlactone functionality in the copolymer used to assemble the film decreases. Reflective infrared spectroscopy experiments demonstrate that films fabricated from MMA:VDMA copolymers contain residual azlactone functionality and that these reactive groups can be exploited to modify film-coated surfaces. Fabricating films from MMA:VDMA copolymers containing different compositions permitted modulation of the density of reactive groups within the films and, thus, the extent to which the films are functionalized by exposure to small molecule amines. For example, functionalization of MMA:VDMA copolymer films with the small molecule D-glucamine resulted in films with water contact angles that varied with the composition of the copolymer used to fabricate the film (e.g., as the azlactone content in the film increased, glucamine-modified films became more hydrophilic). We demonstrate further that treatment of copolymer-containing films with glucamine resulted in changes in the numbers of mammalian cells that grow on the surfaces of the films. Our results suggest the basis of methods that could be used to modulate or tune the density of chemical and biological functionality presented on surfaces of interest in a variety of fundamental and applied contexts.










Peer reviewed accepted manuscript.

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