Highly Durable Lubricity of Photo-Cross-Linked Zwitterionic Polymer Brushes Supported by Poly(ether ether ketone) Substrate

April 3, 2020


Highly Durable Lubricity of Photo-Cross-Linked Zwitterionic Polymer Brushes Supported by Poly(ether ether ketone) Substrate


Hiroki Nakano, Yuri Noguchi, Sachiro Kakinoki, Mai Yamakawa, Issey Osaka, Yasuhiko Iwasaki




ACS Papplied Bio Materials


For improving lubricity, the formation of zwitterionic polymer brushes on material surfaces is one of the most promising approaches. In this study, the photoreactive zwitterionic monomer 2-[2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyldimethylanmmonium] ethyl benzophenoxy phosphate (MBPP) was synthesized to improve the stability of zwitterionic polymer brushes. Although MBPP contains a benzophenone moiety in this molecule, it is water-soluble because of the zwitterionic linker. As a substrate, poly(ether ether ketone) (PEEK) was selected because it has recently been used to replace metals in orthopedic implants. Furthermore, PEEK is photosensitive, and UV graft polymerization of (meth)acrylic monomers on the surface can be performed without using any photoinitiators. Aqueous solutions containing various molar ratios of 2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC) and MBPP were prepared, and the PEEK specimens were immersed in these solutions. UV light was used to irradiate the solutions for 180 min, and the formation of grafting layers of zwitterionic polymers on PEEK specimens was confirmed using contact angle measurement and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The surface friction of PEEK was effectively reduced via the photopolymerization of zwitterionic monomers. However, the surface lubricity of poly(MPC) (PMPC)-grafted surface deteriorated during continuous friction because of the removal of PMPC from the surface. Nevertheless, the stability of polymer brushes was effectively improved by adding only 0.5–0.75 mol % of MBPP in the monomer solution. Moreover, the reduction of wear on the surface was determined using confocal laser microscopy. The excellent lubrication phenomenon was attributed to preserving the hydration state of grafted polymers under compressive stress. Moreover, bacterial adhesion on substrates was tested and observed on a neat PEEK and scratched regions of uncross-linked PMPC-grafted PEEK. Note that bacterial adhesion was completely suppressed on the surface of PEEK modified with cross-linked PMPC brushes with MBPP. Thus, we conclude that the surface modification of PEEK with MPC and MBPP can provide ideal surface properties for orthopedic devices.




FTIR - Portable, surface modification, photopolymerization, cross-linked polymer brushes, lubrication, poly(ether ether ketone), orthopedic devices