Interfacial property modulation of thermoresponsive polymer brush surfaces and their interaction with biomolecules

Kenichi Nagase, Jun Kobayashi, Akihiko Kikuchi, Yoshikatsu Akiyama, Hideko Kanazawa, Teruo Okano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


Dense poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PIPAAm) brushes were created on silica bead surfaces by surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). Interfacial properties of PIPAAm brushes were characterized by thermoresponisve interaction with biomolecules. The grafted amounts of PIPAAm on silica bead surfaces exceeded that from previously reported polymer-hydrogel-modified silica beads prepared by conventional radical polymerization by nearly 1 order of magnitude. Temperature-dependent chromatographic interactions with soluble analytes were modulated by changing the grafted PIPAAm chain lengths. Short PIPAAm-grafted silica beads produce insufficient dehydration and chain aggregation to separate steroids using weak hydrophobic interactions. In contrast, broad unresolved peaks were observed on silica beads column grafted with long PIPAAm chains due to steroid partitioning into thick, densely grafted PIPAAm brush layers. Thus, silica beads column grafted with PIPAAm chains of proper length can demonstrate baseline separation of steroids with relatively high resolution among the tested columns. Relatively longer retention times for steroid analytes were observed on all columns compared to those previously reported for other PIPAAm-grafted silica beads. This indicates that densely PIPAAm-grafted chains enable control of strong hydrophobic interactions with steroids by changing the column temperature. Densely grafted PIPAAm columns were also successful in separating two peptides into two peaks as the column temperature was increased to 40°C. This provides an effective separation alternative for peptides using substantial hydrophobicity without modification of hydrophobic surfaces and/or low mobile phase pH. In conclusion, densely PIPAAm-grafted surfaces exhibit strong, reversible temperature-modulated hydrophobic interactions, facilitating baseline separations of steroids and peptides in aqueous milieu without changes in the mobile phase pH and high ionic strength.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9409-9415
Number of pages7
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Aug 28
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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