A new precursor for conducting polymer-based brush interfaces with electroactivity in aqueous solution

Lisa T. Strover, Jenny Malmström, Olivia Laita, Jóhannes Reynisson, Nihan Aydemir, Michel K. Nieuwoudt, David E. Williams, P. Rod Dunbar, Margaret A. Brimble, Jadranka Travas-Sejdic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We present the synthesis of a novel conducting polymer (CP) incorporating both pyrrole and thiophene units in its monomer, which is also substituted with an initiator for grafting of sidechains by atom-transfer radical polymerisation (ATRP). The precursor monomer for the CP macroinitiator, 2-(2,5-di(pyrrol-2-yl) thiophen-3-yl)ethyl 2-bromopropanoate) (PyThon) is very readily electropolymerised at low monomer concentrations and low applied potentials. Density functional theory (DFT) predictions of ionisation potentials and spin-charge distribution for PyThon are in good agreement with these experimental results. We present also the grafting of sidechains from electropolymerised PolyPyThon (PPyThon) to yield surface-confined polymer brushes. Functionalisation with polystyrene (PS), poly(2,3,4,5,6- pentafluorostyrene) (PFS) and poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether acrylate (PEGMEA) is demonstrated and confirmed by FT-IR and water contact angle measurements. These PPyThon-based molecular brushes are electroactive in both water and acetonitrile, and show evidence of changes in surface conformation related to the redox state of the CP. The growth of human fibroblasts on PPyThon films is also demonstrated, indicating good biocompatibility of the polymer. We conceive PPyThon-based molecular brushes as a substrate for electrical stimuli-responsive surfaces with application particularly in the biomedical field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1317
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - 18 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Conducting polymer
  • Molecular brush
  • Stimuli-responsive surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'A new precursor for conducting polymer-based brush interfaces with electroactivity in aqueous solution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this