Surface Functionalization

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At LSST, we have made considerable use of a range of surface-functionalization approaches. These have ranged from thiols, which attach readily to gold and silver, and which we have also used to form surface-chemical gradients, through phosphates, which actively adsorb on a number of metal oxides, to a recent close examination of the age-old problem of surface functionalization by silanes. Moreover, we also functionalize surfaces by means of both grafting-from and grafting-to polymer-brush attachment, the latter being frequently achieved via the use of polyelectrolyte backbones to which the brush-forming polymer chains are grafted.

Surface functionalization lies at the heart of most of our activities, and our philosophy can be summarized as imparting the ideal surface chemistry (for a particular application) to the surface of the bulk material that provides the ideal bulk properties. In this way, we complement the activities of many other groups in the Department, who focus chiefly on bulk properties.


  1. Effect of Leaving Group on the Structures of Akylsilane SAM:s
    Vikrant V. Naik, Roman Städler and Nicholas D. Spencer
    Langmuir; 2014; 30(49) pp 14824-14831
  2. Light-Responsive Polymer Surfaces via Post-Polymerization Modification of Grafted Polymer-Brush Structures
    Matthias Dübner, Nicholas D. Spencer, Celestino Padeste
    Langmuir; 2014; 30(49) pp 14971-14981
  3. Tailoring SU-8 Surfaces: Covalent Attachment of Polymers by Means of Nitrene Insertion
    Venkataraman V. Nagaiyanallur, Deepak Kumar, Antonella Rossi, Stefan Zürcher and Nicholas D. Spencer
    Langmuir; 2014; 30(33) pp 10107-10111
  4. Multiple Transmission-Reflection IR Spectroscopy Shows that Surface Hydroxyls Play Only a Minor Role in Alkylsilane Monolayer Formation on Silica
    Vikrant V. Naik, Maura Crobu, Nagaiyanallur V. Venkataraman and Nicholas D. Spencer
    J. Phys. Chem. Lett.; 2013; 4(16) pp 2745-2751
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