Materials Science and Technology of Polymers

This movie and the accompanying article visualize the methodology to construct a bio-inspired immiscible polymer brush system.

In a recent publication (link Nat. Commun., we had shown that an immiscible polymer brush system terminating the substrate and the slider surfaces, respectively, can eliminate interdigitation. As a consequence, wear in the contacts is reduced. Moreover, the friction force is two orders of magnitude lower compared to traditional miscible polymer brush systems. This newly proposed system therefore holds great potential for application in industry. This movie shows a step-by-step recipe to prepare two different brushes each solvated by their own preferred solvent. The procedure how to graft poly(N- isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) from a flat surface and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) from an atomic force microscopy (AFM) colloidal probe is described. PNIPAM is solvated in water and PMMA in acetophenone. Via friction force AFM measurements, it is shown that the friction for this system is indeed reduced by two orders of magnitude compared to the miscible system of PMMA on PMMA solvated in acetophenone.

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Nature communications Publication