Interpolymer complexation of a polymer brush
Licentiate thesis, 2020

Controllable macromolecular gating between nanoscopic compartments is of high interest for single molecule studies of biological macromolecules. By definition, a good macromolecular gate should completely stop biomolecules, such as proteins, from crossing between compartments in its closed state while letting them pass in its open state. Polymer brushes of poly(ethylene glycol) have been proven excellent barriers for proteins in previous work, but are limited in terms of stimuli-responsive behaviour needed for macromolecular gating. In this thesis work, the pH reversible interpolymer complexation between a poly(ethylene glycol) brush and poly(methacrylic acid) was investigated as a potential macromolecular gating mechanism. Conclusions were based on the evaluation of the resulting surface complex using three surface sensitive characterisation techniques. Upon complexing at low pH, the polymer layer was found to adopt a shrunken state with significant behavioural changes, while completely reversing back to its initial state after a neutral pH had been introduced. This pH reversible interaction show great promise as a pH controlled macromolecular gating mechanism and calls for further studies with suitable nanostructures. To this end, the fabrication and properties of a new solid-state nanopore device is also presented, together with the direction needed for future work towards a new macromolecular gating system.

functional materials

pH responsive

macromolecular gating

polymer brush

Interpolymer complex


Pater Noster room 2034 at floor 2 in forskarhus 1


John Andersson

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Andreas Dahlin Group

Andersson, J, del Castillo G.F.D, Bilotto, P, Höök, F, and Dahlin, A Control of polymer brush morphology, rheology and protein repulsion by hydrogen bond complexation

SIMONANO (Single Molecule Analysis in Nanoscale Reaction)

Familjen Erling-Perssons stiftelse, 2018-02-01 -- 2019-12-31.

Areas of Advance

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (SO 2010-2017, EI 2018-)

Subject Categories

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Polymer Technologies

Materials Chemistry

Nano Technology


Chalmers Materials Analysis Laboratory

Nanofabrication Laboratory

Licentiatuppsatser vid Institutionen för kemi och kemiteknik, Chalmers tekniska högskola: 2020:18


Chalmers University of Technology

Pater Noster room 2034 at floor 2 in forskarhus 1


More information

Latest update