Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 406, Issue 28, pp 7233–7242 | Cite as

Combined QCM-D/GE as a tool to characterize stimuli-responsive swelling of and protein adsorption on polymer brushes grafted onto 3D-nanostructures

  • Meike Koenig
  • Tadas Kasputis
  • Daniel Schmidt
  • Keith B. Rodenhausen
  • Klaus-Jochen Eichhorn
  • Angela K. Pannier
  • Mathias Schubert
  • Manfred Stamm
  • Petra Uhlmann
Research Paper


A combined setup of quartz crystal microbalance and generalized ellipsometry can be used to comprehensively investigate complex functional coatings comprising stimuli-responsive polymer brushes and 3D nanostructures in a dynamic, noninvasive in situ measurement. While the quartz crystal microbalance detects the overall change in areal mass, for instance, during a swelling or adsorption process, the generalized ellipsometry data can be evaluated in terms of a layered model to distinguish between processes occurring within the intercolumnar space or on top of the anisotropic nanocolumns. Silicon films with anisotropic nanocolumnar morphology were prepared by the glancing angle deposition technique and further functionalized by grafting of poly-(acrylic acid) or poly-(N- isopropylacrylamide) chains. Investigations of the thermoresponsive swelling of the poly-(N-isopropylacrylamide) brush on the Si nanocolumns proved the successful preparation of a stimuli-responsive coating. Furthermore, the potential of these novel coatings in the field of biotechnology was explored by investigation of the adsorption of the model protein bovine serum albumin. Adsorption, retention, and desorption triggered by a change in the pH value is observed using poly-(acrylic acid) functionalized nanostructures, although generalized ellipsometry data revealed that this process occurs only on top of the nanostructures. Poly-(N-isopropylacrylamide) is found to render the nanostructures non-fouling properties.


Thin films Biomaterials Interface/surface analysis Nanostructures Polymer brushes Protein adsorption 



The authors acknowledge the financial support by the German Science Foundation (DFG) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) within the DFG-NSF “Materials World Network” under award numbers STA 324/49-1 and EI 317/6-1, and by NSF under award numbers EPS-1004094, CBET-1254415, and CMMI-1337856.

Supplementary material

216_2014_8154_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (452 kb)
(PDF 451 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meike Koenig
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tadas Kasputis
    • 3
    • 6
  • Daniel Schmidt
    • 4
    • 6
  • Keith B. Rodenhausen
    • 5
    • 6
  • Klaus-Jochen Eichhorn
    • 1
  • Angela K. Pannier
    • 3
    • 6
  • Mathias Schubert
    • 4
    • 6
    • 7
  • Manfred Stamm
    • 1
    • 2
  • Petra Uhlmann
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V.DresdenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Physical Chemistry of Polymer MaterialsTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Biological Systems EngineeringUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  4. 4.Department of Electrical EngineeringUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  5. 5.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  6. 6.Center for Nanohybrid Functional MaterialsUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  7. 7.Nebraska Center for Materials and NanoscienceUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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