Preparation and characterization of poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly[e-(benzyloxycarbonyl)-L-lysine] thin films for biomedical applications

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Izunobi, J. U.
Geever, L. M.
Higginbotham, C. L.
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The nanoscale architectures evident in the thin films of self-assembling hybrid block copolymers—which are tailored to inherit the advantageous properties of their constituent synthetic (homo)polymer and polypeptide blocks—have continued to inspire a variety of new applications in different fields, including biomedicine. The thin films of symmetric hybrid block copolymer, a-methoxypoly( ethylene glycol)-block-poly[e-(benzyloxycarbonyl)-L-lysine], MPEG112-b- PLL(Z)17, were prepared by solvent casting in five different solvents and characterized using Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy, Thermogravimetric analysis, Derivative Thermogravimetric analysis, Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Contact Angle goniometry, Wide-Angle X-ray Diffraction, and Scanning Electron Microscopy. Film thickness was estimated to be 51 ± 23 lmby the ‘‘step-height’’ method, using a thickness gauge. Although no significant change to the block copolymer’s microstructure was observed, its solvent-cast films displayed divergent physical and thermal properties. The resulting cast films proved more thermally stable than the bulk but indicated greater block miscibility. Additionally, the thin films of MPEG112-b-PLL(Z)17 preserved the microphase separation exhibited by the bulk copolymer albeit with appreciable loss of crystallinity. The surface properties of the polymer–air interface were diverse as were the effects of the casting solvents. Oriented equilibrium morphologies are also evident in some of the as-cast thin films.
As-cast thin films, Biopolymers, Diblock copolymers, Equilibrium structures, Polypeptides, Surface topography