Surface-bound polymers patterned with reactive functional groups provide means for cellular interaction studies. These surfaces are generated through the covalent attachment of a polymer, and then postpolymerization modification to produce a pattern using microcapillary printing. While this technique has been optimized in organic conditions, aqueous solutions may be necessary for use in biological settings. Aqueous solutions pose a risk when generating functional surfaces due to the possibility of hydrolysis. This study was performed to learn the limitations that biological settings pose on the generation of functionalized surfaces, including the necessity of triethylamine and the effect of pH on hydrolysis. Using FTIR, ellipsometry, and UV-vis analysis, it was found that triethylamine acts as a catalyst during functionalization. Hydrolysis resulting from different pH values in pure aqueous solutions and aqueous solutions containing DMF was measured. Hydrolysis of varying degrees occurred on all substrates exposed to these solutions, and ongoing investigations are being conducted to better characterize this relationship.
Alyssa Huntington, Virginia Tech