High-performance mussel-inspired adhesives of reduced complexity

B. Kollbe Ahn, Saurabh Das, Roscoe Linstadt, Yair Kaufman, Nadine R. Martinez-Rodriguez, Razieh Mirshafian, Ellina Kesselman, Yeshayahu Talmon, Bruce H. Lipshutz, Jacob N. Israelachvili, J. Herbert Waite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


Despite the recent progress in and demand for wet adhesives, practical underwater adhesion remains limited or non-existent for diverse applications. Translation of mussel-inspired wet adhesion typically entails catechol functionalization of polymers and/or polyelectrolytes, and solution processing of many complex components and steps that require optimization and stabilization. Here we reduced the complexity of a wet adhesive primer to synthetic low-molecular-weight catecholic zwitterionic surfactants that show very strong adhesion (∼50 mJm-2) and retain the ability to coacervate. This catecholic zwitterion adheres to diverse surfaces and self-assembles into a molecularly smooth, thin (<4 nm) and strong glue layer. The catecholic zwitterion holds particular promise as an adhesive for nanofabrication. This study significantly simplifies bio-inspired themes for wet adhesion by combining catechol with hydrophobic and electrostatic functional groups in a small molecule.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8663
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 19 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'High-performance mussel-inspired adhesives of reduced complexity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this