Contact Studies of Weak Adhesive Interactions in Water with Membrane Enhanced Surface Acoustic Wave Analysis

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The measurement of weak adhesive energies has previously been difficult to obtain. To measure these energies, I designed a technique that uses the combined sensitivities of both a quartz crystal resonator and the inflation of an elastomeric polymer membrane. The surfaces of the quartz crystal and/or the membrane are modified with water swollen polymer brushes, which are used to eliminate nonspecific adhesion. These brushes are then end-modified with adhesive functional groups.</P> <P>An analysis is developed for the frequency response of a quartz crystal resonator as the membrane layer is placed in contact with the surface of these swollen brushes. The shear wave generated at the resonator surface couples into the membrane layer with an efficiency that is strongly dependent on the thickness of the swollen brush layer. The calculated shift decreases substantially for increases in the brush thickness of ten to twenty nanometers, giving a net frequency response that is extremely sensitive to the degree of swelling of the brush. An optimum capping layer thickness is determined by balancing the resonant frequency shift against dissipative effects that weaken the crystal resonance. Detailed calculations are presented for the specific case of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) brushes swollen by water and capped by a poly(styrene-ethylene/butene-styrene) (SEBS) elastomeric, water-permeable membrane. These calculations show that the method is sensitive to the properties of the brush layer.</P> <P>This surface acoustic wave technique was coupled with an inflation method that enabled quantification of the adhesion between the membrane and the brush coated surface. This adhesive interaction is obtained from the contact angle made between the quartz and membrane surfaces and the tension on the membrane. An analysis of the membrane profile based on the numerical solution of the axisymmetric Laplace equation is developed and used to investigate both adhesive and non-adhesive situations with both an SEBS and poly(styrene-isoprene-styrene) (SIS) membrane. The non-adhesive case uses two opposed swollen PEG brushes, where the membrane contact angle is known to be zero. For the adhesive case a membrane-tethered PEG brush is end-modified with Boc-dihydroxyphenylalanine and brought into contact with a titanium coated quartz crystal. To aid in the analysis, stringent calibrations have been conducted on all materials

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  • 09/11/2018
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