Journal for Biophysical Chemistry

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Open Access

Mixed poly (ethylene glycol) and oligo (ethylene glycol) layers on gold as nonfouling surfaces created by backfilling

  • Arcot R. Lokanathan1,
  • Shuai Zhang1,
  • Viduthalai R. Regina1,
  • Martin A. Cole1,
  • Ryosuke Ogaki1Email author,
  • Mingdong Dong1,
  • Flemming Besenbacher1,
  • Rikke L. Meyer1 and
  • Peter Kingshott2Email author

Received: 12 July 2011

Accepted: 19 September 2011


Backfilling a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) of long poly (ethylene glycol) (PEG) with short PEG is a well-known strategy to improve its potential to resist fouling. Here it is shown, using xray photoelectron spectroscopy, contact angle, and atomic force microscopy, that backfilling PEG thiol with oligo (ethylene glycol) (OEG) terminated alkane thiol molecules results in underbrush formation. The authors also confirm the absence of phase separated arrangement, which is commonly observed with backfilling experiments involving SAMs of short chain alkane thiol with long chain alkane thiol. Furthermore, it was found that OEG addition caused less PEG desorption when compared to alkane thiol. The ability of surface to resist fouling was tested through serum adsorption and bacterial adhesion studies. The authors demonstrate that the mixed monolayer with PEG and OEG is better than PEG at resisting protein adsorption and bacterial adhesion, and conclude that backfilling PEG with OEG resulting in the underbrush formation enhances the ability of PEG to resist fouling.