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Self-assembled polymeric monolayers (PMs) on Si/SiO2 wafers were prepared in water from a series of random copolymers of poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (PEGMA) and 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate (TMSMA), denoted as poly(TMSMA-r-PEGMA). Four
polymers of poly(TMSMA-r-PEGMA) were synthesized by free radical polymerization with a systematic variation of co-monomer feed ratios. Regardless of PEG grafting density in the copolymers, all PMs formed approximately 1 nm-thick film as measured by ellipsometry. However, the PMs with
a higher grafting density of PEG resulted in more hydrophilic surfaces in terms of water contact angle. The protein resistance of the PMs was evaluated using bovine serum albumin (BSA) as a model protein. Analyses by ellipsometry, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
(XPS) showed that the PMs of the copolymers markedly reduced the nonspecific adsorption of proteins compared to the unmodified Si/SiO2 wafers. The study also revealed that the PMs prepared from the copolymers with a higher PEG grafting density were more effective in resisting the
nonspecific protein adsorption.
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