Characterization of poly(sodium styrene sulfonate) thin films grafted from functionalized titanium surfaces

Gilad Zorn, Joe E Baio, Tobias Weidner, Veronique Migonney, David G Castner

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Biointegration of titanium implants in the body is controlled by their surface properties. Improving surface properties by coating with a bioactive polymer is a promising approach to improve the biological performance of titanium implants. To optimize the grafting processes, it is important to fully understand the composition and structure of the modified surfaces. The main focus of this study is to provide a detailed, multitechnique characterization of a bioactive poly(sodium styrene sulfonate) (pNaSS) thin film grafted from titanium surfaces via a two-step procedure. Thin titanium films (∼50 nm thick with an average surface roughness of 0.9 ± 0.2 nm) prepared by evaporation onto silicon wafers were used as smooth model substrates. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) showed that the titanium film was covered with a TiO(2) layer that was at least 10 nm thick and contained hydroxyl groups present at the outermost surface. These hydroxyl groups were first modified with a 3-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane (MPS) cross-linker. XPS and ToF-SIMS showed that a monolayer of the MPS molecules was successfully attached onto the titanium surfaces. The pNaSS film was grafted from the MPS-modified titanium through atom transfer radical polymerization. Again, XPS and ToF-SIMS were used to verify that the pNaSS molecules were successfully grafted onto the modified surfaces. Atomic force microscopy analysis showed that the film was smooth and uniformly covered the surface. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy indicated that an ordered array of grafted NaSS molecules were present on the titanium surfaces. Sum frequency generation vibration spectroscopy and near edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy illustrated that the NaSS molecules were grafted onto the titanium surface with a substantial degree of orientational order in the styrene rings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13104-12
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Methacrylates
  • Polymers
  • Silanes
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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