Polyethylene glycol (PEG) brushes are very effective at controlling non-specific deposition of biological material onto surfaces, which is of paramount importance to obtaining successful outcomes in biomaterials, tissue engineered scaffolds, biosensors, filtration membranes and drug delivery devices. We report on a simple 'grafting to' approach involving binary solvent mixtures that are chosen based on Hansen's solubility parameters to optimize the solubility of PEG thereby enabling control over the graft density. The PEG thiol-gold model system enabled a thorough characterization of PEG films formed, while studies on a PEG silane-silicon system examined the versatility to be applied to any substrate-head group system by choosing an appropriate solvent pair. The ability of PEG films to resist non-specific adsorption of proteins was quantitatively assessed by full serum exposure studies and the binary solvent strategy was found to produce PEG films with optimal graft density to efficiently resist protein adsorption.
- Poly(ethylene glycol) brushes
- Polymer solubility
- Protein adsorption