PhD ceremony: J. Luijten, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Thesis: Functionalization and special properties of surface-grafted
Promotor(s): prof. A.J. Schouten
Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Electronic and opto-electronic devices such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), field-effect transistors (FETs), photovoltaic cells and sensors are more and more based on thin films of organic materials. In general, a high degree of molecular order and orientation enhances the properties and performance of these thin organic films considerably.
From this point of view, surface-grafted polypeptide films prepared by the so-called ‘grafting from’ technique are interesting candidates for the fabrication of such highly ordered systems. The chemical versatility of synthetic polypeptides enables the incorporation of a wide range of functional side and/or end groups.
The specific secondary structure (in this case alpha-helix) of the utilized polypeptides gives rise to interesting physical properties such as a unidirectional macrodipole moment and/or conformational diversity by external stimuli. Finally, the layer thickness of the surface-grafted films can be controlled quite accurately between several nanometers to more than 100 nanometers by variation of the reaction parameters.
In this thesis the chemical functionalization and special physical properties of surface-grafted polypeptide films are explored. In terms of functionalization, the incorporation of polymerizable side groups in the end-grafted polymer chains was investigated. Using these polymerizable groups it was possible to fixate the perpendicular helix orientation in the surface-grafted films by means of cross-linking. It also turned out to be possible to end-cap the grafted polypeptide chains with C60 molecules. Furthermore, the azimuthal helix orientation in grafted polyglutamate films was studied and surface-grafted polyaspartate films with a reversibly manipulable helix screw sense were prepared.
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