Improving the Stability in Aqueous Media of Polymer Brushes Grafted from Silicon Oxide Substrates by Surface-Initiated Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization
Hydrophilic polymer brushes grown via surface-initiated ATRP from silicon oxide surfaces are susceptible to detachment via hydrolytic cleavage of the anchoring siloxane bond. This paper investigates the influence of the structure of the ATRP initiator on the stability of these brushes and seeks for strategies to further enhance their stability. It is found that increasing the hydrophobicity of the organosilane modified ATRP initiator reduces the susceptibility of the brushes toward cleavage. Robust, hydrophilic polymer brushes are prepared, which are obtained by introducing a short, hydrophobic PMMA or PEHMA block between the silicon oxide substrate and the hydrophilic polymer brush.