A thermoresponsive copolymer brush possessing the sulfonic acid group, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide (IPAAm)-co-2-acrylamido-2-methylpropanesulfonic acid (AMPS)-co-tert-butylacrylamide (tBAAm)), was grafted onto the surface of silica beads through surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization. Prepared copolymer and copolymer brushes on silica beads were characterized by observing the phase transition profile, CHNS elemental analysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and gel permeation chromatography. The phase transition profile indicated that an appropriate AMPS composition for enabling thermally modulated property changes is 5 mol %, while excessive amounts of sulfonic acid groups prevented copolymer phase transition. Chromatographic elutions of catecholamine derivatives and basic proteins were observed, using the prepared copolymer brush-modified beads as chromatographic matrices, and the results suggest that the beads interact with these analytes through relatively strong electrostatic interactions. Thus, poly(IPAAm-co-AMPS-co-tBAAm) brush-modified beads will be useful for effective thermoresponsive chromatography matrices that separate basic biomolecules through strong electrostatic interactions.
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