Betainization of Polydopamine/Polyethylenimine Coating for Universal Zwitterionization

Hoang Linh Bui, Yin Lin Chen, Ying Chieh Chuang, Kai Ou, Yao Chou Tsai, Chun Jen Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biofoulants can adhere to multiple surfaces, degrading the performance of medical devices and industrial facilities and/or causing nosocomial infection. The surface immobilization of zwitterionic materials can prevent the initial attachment of the foulants but lacks extensive implementation. Herein, we propose a facile, universal, two-step surface modification strategy to improve fouling resistance. In the first step, the substrates were immersed in a codeposition solution containing dopamine and branched polyethylenimine (PEI) to form a “primer” layer (PDA/PEI). In the second step, the primer layers were treated with 1,3-propane sultone to betainize primary/secondary/tertiary amine moieties of PEI, generating zwitterions on substrates. After betainization, PS-grafted PDA/PEI (PDA/PEI/S) via a ring-opening alkylation reaction manifested changes in wettability. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy revealed the presence of zwitterionic moieties on the PDA/PEI/S surfaces. Further investigations using ellipsometry and atomic force microscopy were conducted to scrutinize the relation among the PEI content, film thickness, primer stability, and betainization. As a result, zwitterion-decorated substrates prepared under optimal conditions can exhibit high resistance against bacterial fouling, achieving a 98.5% reduction in bacterial attachment. In addition, the method shows a substrate-independent property, capable of successfully applying it on organic and inorganic substrates. Finally, the newly developed approach shows excellent biocompatibility, displaying no significant difference compared with blank control samples. Overall, we envision that the facile surface modification strategy can further promote the preparation of zwitterion-decorated materials in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13169-13177
Number of pages9
Issue number37
StatePublished - 19 Sep 2023


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