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Publication Date


First Advisor

Katherine T. Queeney

Second Advisor

Maren E. Buck

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Polymer bilayer, Hydrophilic surfaces, Silcon


This work focuses on generating reproducibly tunable polymeric films on silica substrates using pre- and post-functionalization polymer adhesion methods. Starting with negatively charged silica, we deposit a polycation, poly(allylamine) hydrochloride (PAH), to cover up the negatively charged OH groups on this substrate. This generates thin amine containing PAH layers on silica with thicknesses of 1 Å. We use the polymer poly(2-vinyl-4,4’- dimethylazlactone) (PVDMA) for the second layer. We compared plain/unmodified bilayers to those obtained using pre- and post-modification methods. The primary amine molecules used to modify the polymer are dimethylamino ethylamine and decylamine. Modified bilayers were thicker than plain bilayers for both methods. Additionally, post-modifying the bilayers with decylamine resulted in a significant increase in hydrophobicity as determined by contact angles. The results from the Pre-functionalization route were very inconsistent. Hence, no meaningful conclusions could be drawn from the bilayers created with this route. Using decylamine as the modifying molecule in the post-functionalization route, we were able to reproducibly tune wettability properties of polymeric films on surfaces.


2020 Elizabeth Awuor Apiche. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




58 pages : color illustrations. Includes bibliographical references (pages 56-58)