Infoscience

Review

Surface-Initiated Controlled Radical Polymerization: State-of-the-Art, Opportunities, and Challenges in Surface and Interface Engineering with Polymer Brushes

The generation of polymer brushes by surface-initiated controlled radical polymerization (SI-CRP) techniques has become a powerful approach to tailor the chemical and physical properties of interfaces and has given rise to great advances in surface and interface engineering. Polymer brushes are defined as thin polymer films in which the individual polymer chains are tethered by one chain end to a solid interface. Significant advances have been made over the past years in the field of polymer brushes. This includes novel developments in SI-CRP, as well as the emergence of novel applications such as catalysis, electronics, nanomaterial synthesis and biosensing. Additionally, polymer brushes prepared via SI-CRP have been utilized to modify the surface of novel substrates such as natural fibers, polymer nanofibers, mesoporous materials, graphene, viruses and protein nanoparticles. The last years have also seen exciting advances in the chemical and physical characterization of polymer brushes, as well as an ever increasing set of computational and simulation tools that allow understanding and predictions of these surface grafted polymer architectures. The aim of this contribution is to provide a comprehensive review that critically assesses recent advances in the field and highlights the opportunities and challenges for future work.

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