Open AccessArticle
Theoretical Methods for Studying DNA Structural Transitions under Applied Mechanical Constraints
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 74; doi:10.3390/polym9020074 -
Abstract
Recentprogressinsingle-moleculemanipulationtechnologieshasmadeitpossibletoexert force and torque on individual DNA biopolymers to probe their mechanical stability and interaction with various DNA-binding proteins. It was revealed in these experiments that the DNA structure and formation of nucleoprotein complexes by DNA-architectural proteins can be strongly modulated by an
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Recentprogressinsingle-moleculemanipulationtechnologieshasmadeitpossibletoexert force and torque on individual DNA biopolymers to probe their mechanical stability and interaction with various DNA-binding proteins. It was revealed in these experiments that the DNA structure and formation of nucleoprotein complexes by DNA-architectural proteins can be strongly modulated by an intricate interplay between the entropic elasticity of DNA and its global topology, which is closely related to the mechanical constraints applied to the DNA. Detailed understanding of the physical processes underlying the DNA behavior observed in single-molecule experiments requires thedevelopmentofageneraltheoreticalframework,whichturnedouttobearatherchallengingtask. Here, we review recent advances in theoretical methods that can be used to interpret single-molecule manipulation experiments on DNA. Full article
Open AccessReview
Nanocarbons in Electrospun Polymeric Nanomats for Tissue Engineering: A Review
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 76; doi:10.3390/polym9020076 -
Abstract
Electrospinning is a versatile process technology, exploited for the production of fibers with varying diameters, ranging from nano- to micro-scale, particularly useful for a wide range of applications. Among these, tissue engineering is particularly relevant to this technology since electrospun fibers offer topological
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Electrospinning is a versatile process technology, exploited for the production of fibers with varying diameters, ranging from nano- to micro-scale, particularly useful for a wide range of applications. Among these, tissue engineering is particularly relevant to this technology since electrospun fibers offer topological structure features similar to the native extracellular matrix, thus providing an excellent environment for the growth of cells and tissues. Recently, nanocarbons have been emerging as promising fillers for biopolymeric nanofibrous scaffolds. In fact, they offer interesting physicochemical properties due to their small size, large surface area, high electrical conductivity and ability to interface/interact with the cells/tissues. Nevertheless, their biocompatibility is currently under debate and strictly correlated to their surface characteristics, in terms of chemical composition, hydrophilicity and roughness. Among the several nanofibrous scaffolds prepared by electrospinning, biopolymer/nanocarbons systems exhibit huge potential applications, since they combine the features of the matrix with those determined by the nanocarbons, such as conductivity and improved bioactivity. Furthermore, combining nanocarbons and electrospinning allows designing structures with engineered patterns at both nano- and microscale level. This article presents a comprehensive review of various types of electrospun polymer-nanocarbon currently used for tissue engineering applications. Furthermore, the differences among graphene, carbon nanotubes, nanodiamonds and fullerenes and their effect on the ultimate properties of the polymer-based nanofibrous scaffolds is elucidated and critically reviewed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Polymer Conformation under Confinement
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 73; doi:10.3390/polym9020073 -
Abstract
The conformation of polymer chains under confinement is investigated in intercalated polymer/layered silicate nanocomposites. Hydrophilic poly(ethylene oxide)/sodium montmorillonite, PEO/Na+-MMT, hybrids were prepared utilizing melt intercalation with compositions where the polymer chains are mostly within the ~1 nm galleries of the inorganic
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The conformation of polymer chains under confinement is investigated in intercalated polymer/layered silicate nanocomposites. Hydrophilic poly(ethylene oxide)/sodium montmorillonite, PEO/Na+-MMT, hybrids were prepared utilizing melt intercalation with compositions where the polymer chains are mostly within the ~1 nm galleries of the inorganic material. The polymer chains are completely amorphous in all compositions even at temperatures where the bulk polymer is highly crystalline. Attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) is utilized to investigate the conformation of the polymer chains over a broad range of temperatures from below to much higher than the bulk polymer melting temperature. A systematic increase of the gauche conformation relatively to the trans is found with decreasing polymer content both for the C–C and the C–O bonds that exist along the PEO backbone indicating that the severe confinement and the proximity to the inorganic surfaces results in a more disordered state of the polymer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Modification of Butyl Rubber with Maleic Anhydride via Nitroxide Chemistry and Its Application in Polymer Blends
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 63; doi:10.3390/polym9020063 -
Abstract
Butyl rubber (isobutylene–isoprene–rubber, IIR) was functionalized in solution with a nitroxide moiety taking advantage of the unsaturations present in the isoprene units of IIR, and was further grafted with maleic anhydride (MA) or styrene–MA (SMA) to produce IIR-g-MA and IIR-g
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Butyl rubber (isobutylene–isoprene–rubber, IIR) was functionalized in solution with a nitroxide moiety taking advantage of the unsaturations present in the isoprene units of IIR, and was further grafted with maleic anhydride (MA) or styrene–MA (SMA) to produce IIR-g-MA and IIR-g-SMA. In one of the functionalization techniques used, the molecular structure of the IIR was preserved as the chain-breaking reactions are prevented from occurring. The resulting graft copolymers were tested as compatiblizers/impact modifiers blended with Nylon-6, and one of them was preliminarily tested as a coupling agent in the preparation of nanocomposites of IIR and an organo-clay. Blends of PA-6/IIR-g-MA exhibited a significant increase in impact resistance at increasing loads of the modified IIR, as well as a good rubber particle dispersion in the polyamide matrix. On the other hand, the performance of IIR-g-SMA as an impact modifier of PA, or as a coupling agent in the preparation of rubber-organoclay nanocomposites, is marginal. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Bio-Based Adhesives and Evaluation for Wood Composites Application
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 70; doi:10.3390/polym9020070 -
Abstract
There has been a rapid growth in research and innovation of bio-based adhesives in the engineered wood product industry. This article reviews the recent research published over the last few decades on the synthesis of bio-adhesives derived from such renewable resources as lignin,
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There has been a rapid growth in research and innovation of bio-based adhesives in the engineered wood product industry. This article reviews the recent research published over the last few decades on the synthesis of bio-adhesives derived from such renewable resources as lignin, starch, and plant proteins. The chemical structure of these biopolymers is described and discussed to highlight the active functional groups that are used in the synthesis of bio-adhesives. The potentials and drawbacks of each biomass are then discussed in detail; some methods have been suggested to modify their chemical structures and to improve their properties including water resistance and bonding strength for their ultimate application as wood adhesives. Moreover, this article includes discussion of techniques commonly used for evaluating the petroleum-based wood adhesives in terms of mechanical properties and penetration behavior, which are expected to be more widely applied to bio-based wood adhesives to better evaluate their prospect for wood composites application. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optical Properties and Amplified Spontaneous Emission of Novel MDMO-PPV/C500 Hybrid
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 71; doi:10.3390/polym9020071 -
Abstract
The influence of the solvent nature on optical properties of poly[2-methoxy-5-3,7-dimethyloctyloxy-1,4-phenylenevinylene] (MDMO-PPV)/Coumarine 500 (C500) have been investigated. In addition, the amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) from MDMO-PPV and efficient energy transfer between the MDMO-PPV and C500 has been verified. The MDMO-PPV was dissolved in
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The influence of the solvent nature on optical properties of poly[2-methoxy-5-3,7-dimethyloctyloxy-1,4-phenylenevinylene] (MDMO-PPV)/Coumarine 500 (C500) have been investigated. In addition, the amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) from MDMO-PPV and efficient energy transfer between the MDMO-PPV and C500 has been verified. The MDMO-PPV was dissolved in aromatic and nonaromatic solvents, while the solution blending method was employed to prepare the MDMO-PPV:C500 hybrid. The quantum yield of the MDMO-PPV was found to increase with the reduction of a few factors such as polarity index of the solvent, absorption cross section (σa), emission cross section (σe), and extinction coefficient (εmax). The fluorescence spectra of the MDMO-PPV appears from two vibronic band transitions (0-0, 0-1) and the ASE occurs at 0-1 transition, which was verified by the ASE from MDMO-PPV. The MDMO-PPV in toluene exhibited the best ASE efficiency due to its high quantum yield compared with other solvents. Strong overlap between the absorption spectrum of MDMO-PPV and emission spectrum of C500 confirmed the efficient energy transfer between them. Moreover, the ASE for energy transfer of the MDMO-PPV:C500 hybrid was proved. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable and Low Viscous 1-Allyl-3-methylimidazolium Acetate + PEG Solvent for Cellulose Processing
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 54; doi:10.3390/polym9020054 -
Abstract
Developing sustainable, low viscous and efficient solvents are always advantageous to the processing/fabricating of cellulose materials in practical applications. To this end, in this work novel solvents were developed; ([Amim][CH3COO]/PEG) by dissolving polyethylene glycol 200 (PEG-200) in 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([Amim][CH3
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Developing sustainable, low viscous and efficient solvents are always advantageous to the processing/fabricating of cellulose materials in practical applications. To this end, in this work novel solvents were developed; ([Amim][CH3COO]/PEG) by dissolving polyethylene glycol 200 (PEG-200) in 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([Amim][CH3COO]). The solubilities of cellulose in [Amim][CH3COO]/PEG solvents were determined as a function of temperature, and the possible dissolution mechanism of cellulose in [Amim][CH3COO]/PEG solvent was investigated. The novel solvent exhibits outstanding advantages for good dissolution capacity of cellulose, such as low viscosity, negligible vapor pressure, and recycling capability. The [CH3COO] anion and the [Amim]+ cation of [Amim][CH3COO] in [Amim][CH3COO]/PEG-10 are the driving force for cellulose dissolution verified by the 13C NMR spectra. In addition, the regenerated cellulose films from [Amim][CH3COO]/PEG solvent were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) to estimate their morphologies and structures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Responsive Hydrogel Nanoparticles upon Polyelectrolyte Complexation
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 66; doi:10.3390/polym9020066 -
Abstract
Characterization of responsive hydrogels and their interaction with other molecules have significantly expanded our understanding of the functional materials. We here report on the response of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid) (pNIPAm-co-AAc) nanogels to the addition of the poly(allylamine hydrochloride)
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Characterization of responsive hydrogels and their interaction with other molecules have significantly expanded our understanding of the functional materials. We here report on the response of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid) (pNIPAm-co-AAc) nanogels to the addition of the poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) in aqueous dispersions. We find that the hydrodynamic radius and stability of nanogels are dependent on the PAH/nanogel stoichiometry. If the nanogel solution is titrated with very small aliquots of PAH, the nanogels decrease in radius until the equivalence point, followed by aggregation at suprastoichiometric PAH additions. Conversely, when titrated with large aliquots, the nanogel charge switches rapidly from anionic to cationic, and no aggregation is observed. This behavior correlates well with electrophoretic mobility measurements, which shows the nanogel charge transitioning from negative to positive upon PAH addition. The volume phase transition temperature (VPTT) of the nanogels is also measured to discover the effect of polyelectrolyte complexation on the deswelling thermodynamics. These data show that charge neutralization upon PAH addition decreases the VPTT of the nanogel at pH 6.5. However, if an excess amount of PAH is added to the nanogel solution, the VPTT shifts back to higher temperatures due to the formation of a net positive charge in the nanogel network. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Degradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Bacterial Polyester Hydrolases
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 65; doi:10.3390/polym9020065 -
Abstract
Polyurethanes (PU) are widely used synthetic polymers. The growing amount of PU used industrially has resulted in a worldwide increase of plastic wastes. The related environmental pollution as well as the limited availability of the raw materials based on petrochemicals requires novel solutions
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Polyurethanes (PU) are widely used synthetic polymers. The growing amount of PU used industrially has resulted in a worldwide increase of plastic wastes. The related environmental pollution as well as the limited availability of the raw materials based on petrochemicals requires novel solutions for their efficient degradation and recycling. The degradation of the polyester PU Impranil DLN by the polyester hydrolases LC cutinase (LCC), TfCut2, Tcur1278 and Tcur0390 was analyzed using a turbidimetric assay. The highest hydrolysis rates were obtained with TfCut2 and Tcur0390. TfCut2 also showed a significantly higher substrate affinity for Impranil DLN than the other three enzymes, indicated by a higher adsorption constant K. Significant weight losses of the solid thermoplastic polyester PU (TPU) Elastollan B85A-10 and C85A-10 were detected as a result of the enzymatic degradation by all four polyester hydrolases. Within a reaction time of 200 h at 70 °C, LCC caused weight losses of up to 4.9% and 4.1% of Elastollan B85A-10 and C85A-10, respectively. Gel permeation chromatography confirmed a preferential degradation of the larger polymer chains. Scanning electron microscopy revealed cracks at the surface of the TPU cubes as a result of enzymatic surface erosion. Analysis by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy indicated that the observed weight losses were a result of the cleavage of ester bonds of the polyester TPU. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of Aggregation-Induced Emission-Active Conjugated Polymers Composed of Group 13 Diiminate Complexes with Tunable Energy Levels via Alteration of Central Element
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 68; doi:10.3390/polym9020068 -
Abstract
Conjugated polymers containing boron and gallium diiminate complexes were prepared with various electron-donating comonomers via pre- and post-complexation methods, respectively. From a comparison of emission quantum yields between solution and film states, it was seen that all polymers containing group 13 elements possessed
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Conjugated polymers containing boron and gallium diiminate complexes were prepared with various electron-donating comonomers via pre- and post-complexation methods, respectively. From a comparison of emission quantum yields between solution and film states, it was seen that all polymers containing group 13 elements possessed an aggregation-induced emission property. Additionally, the frontier orbital energies and the optical and electrochemical properties of the polymers can be tuned by altering a central element at the complex moieties as well as by changing a comonomer unit. In particular, it was demonstrated that the gallium atom can contribute to stabilizing the energy levels of the lowest unoccupied molecular orbitals, resulting in narrow band gaps of the conjugated polymers. This study presents the potential of gallium not only for preparing solid-state emissive conjugated polymers but also for fabricating low-band gap materials by employing the conjugated ligand. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Polymers in Carbon Dots: A Review
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 67; doi:10.3390/polym9020067 -
Abstract
Carbon dots (CDs) have been widely studied since their discovery in 2004 as a green substitute of the traditional quantum dots due to their excellent photoluminescence (PL) and high biocompatibility. Meanwhile, polymers have increasingly become an important component for both synthesis and modification
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Carbon dots (CDs) have been widely studied since their discovery in 2004 as a green substitute of the traditional quantum dots due to their excellent photoluminescence (PL) and high biocompatibility. Meanwhile, polymers have increasingly become an important component for both synthesis and modification of CDs to provide polymeric matrix and enhance their PL property. Furthermore, critical analysis of composites of CDs and polymers has not been available. Herein, in this review, we summarized the use of polymers in the synthesis and functionalization of CDs, and the applications of these CDs in various fields. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mechanical and Electrical Properties of Sulfur-Containing Polymeric Materials Prepared via Inverse Vulcanization
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 59; doi:10.3390/polym9020059 -
Abstract
Recently, new methods have been developed for the utilization of elemental sulfur as a feedstock for novel polymeric materials. One promising method is the inverse vulcanization, which is used to prepare polymeric structures derived from sulfur and divinyl comonomers. However, the mechanical and
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Recently, new methods have been developed for the utilization of elemental sulfur as a feedstock for novel polymeric materials. One promising method is the inverse vulcanization, which is used to prepare polymeric structures derived from sulfur and divinyl comonomers. However, the mechanical and electrical properties of the products are virtually unexplored. Hence, in the present study, we synthesized a 200 g scale of amorphous, hydrophobic as well as translucent, hyperbranched polymeric sulfur networks that provide a high thermal resistance (>220 °C). The polymeric material properties of these sulfur copolymers can be controlled significantly by varying the monomers as well as the feed content. The investigated comonomers are divinylbenzene (DVB) and 1,3-diisopropenylbenzene (DIB). Plastomers with low elastic content and high shape retention containing 12.5%–30% DVB as well as low viscose waxy plastomers with a high flow behavior containing a high DVB content of 30%–35% were obtained. Copolymers with 15%–30% DIB act, on the one hand, as thermoplastics and, on the other hand, as vitreous thermosets with a DIB of 30%–35%. Results of the thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), the dynamic scanning calorimetry (DSC) and mechanical characterization, such as stress–strain experiments and dynamic mechanical thermal analysis, are discussed with the outcome that they support the assumption of a polymeric cross-linked network structure in the form of hyper-branched polymers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Enhancement of Curcumin Bioavailability Using Nanocellulose Reinforced Chitosan Hydrogel
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 64; doi:10.3390/polym9020064 -
Abstract
A unique biodegradable, superporous, swellable and pH sensitive nanocellulose reinforced chitosan hydrogel with dynamic mechanical properties was prepared for oral administration of curcumin. Curcumin, a less water-soluble drug was used due to the fact that the fast swellable, superporous hydrogel could release a
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A unique biodegradable, superporous, swellable and pH sensitive nanocellulose reinforced chitosan hydrogel with dynamic mechanical properties was prepared for oral administration of curcumin. Curcumin, a less water-soluble drug was used due to the fact that the fast swellable, superporous hydrogel could release a water-insoluble drug to a great extent. CO2 gas foaming was used to fabricate hydrogel as it eradicates using organic solvents. Field emission scanning electron microscope images revealed that the pore size significantly increased with the formation of widely interconnected porous structure in gas foamed hydrogels. The maximum compression of pure chitosan hydrogel was 25.9 ± 1 kPa and it increased to 38.4 ± 1 kPa with the introduction of 0.5% cellulose nanocrystals. In vitro degradation of hydrogels was found dependent on the swelling ratio and the amount of CNC of the hydrogel. All the hydrogels showed maximum swelling ratios greater than 300%. The 0.5% CNC-chitosan hydrogel showed the highest swelling ratio of 438% ± 11%. FTIR spectrum indicated that there is no interaction between drug and ingredients present in hydrogels. The drug release occurred in non-Fickian (anomalous) manner in simulated gastric medium. The drug release profiles of hydrogels are consistent with the data obtained from the swelling studies. After gas foaming of the hydrogel, the drug loading efficiency increased from 41% ± 2.4% to 50% ± 2.0% and release increased from 0.74 to 1.06 mg/L. The drug release data showed good fitting to Ritger-Peppas model. Moreover, the results revealed that the drug maintained its chemical activity after in vitro release. According to the results of this study, CNC reinforced chitosan hydrogel can be suggested to improve the bioavailability of curcumin for the absorption from stomach and upper intestinal tract. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Comb-Shaped Copolymers by Multidetection SEC, DLS and SANS
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 61; doi:10.3390/polym9020061 -
Abstract
PolyCarboxylate ether-based superplasticizers (PCEs) are a type of comb-shaped copolymers used as polymeric dispersants in cementitious materials. PCEs have a high degree of dispersity, which limits the suitability of conventional characterization techniques, such as Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC). Properties of PCEs strongly depend
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PolyCarboxylate ether-based superplasticizers (PCEs) are a type of comb-shaped copolymers used as polymeric dispersants in cementitious materials. PCEs have a high degree of dispersity, which limits the suitability of conventional characterization techniques, such as Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC). Properties of PCEs strongly depend on their molecular structure and a comprehensive characterization is needed to fully understand the structure–property relationships. PCEs with well-defined molecular structures were synthesized to study their solution conformation by SEC and scattering techniques. The combined use of SEC, dynamic light scattering and small-angle neutron scattering allowed us to demonstrate the validity of a scaling law describing the radius of gyration of comb-shaped copolymers as a function of their molecular structure. Moreover, we show that the use of SEC with standard calibration, although widely spread, is not adequate for PCEs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Wide-Range Magnetoelectric Response on Hybrid Polymer Composites Based on Filler Type and Content
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 62; doi:10.3390/polym9020062 -
Abstract
In order to obtain a wide-range magnetoelectric (ME) response on a ME nanocomposite that matches industry requirements, Tb0.3Dy0.7Fe1.92 (Terfenol-D)/CoFe2O4/P(VDF-TrFE) flexible films were produced by the solvent casting technique and their morphologic, piezoelectric, magnetic and magnetoelectric properties were investigated. The
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In order to obtain a wide-range magnetoelectric (ME) response on a ME nanocomposite that matches industry requirements, Tb0.3Dy0.7Fe1.92 (Terfenol-D)/CoFe2O4/P(VDF-TrFE) flexible films were produced by the solvent casting technique and their morphologic, piezoelectric, magnetic and magnetoelectric properties were investigated. The obtained composites revealed a high piezoelectric response (≈−18 pC·N−1) that is independent of the weight ratio between the fillers. In turn, the magnetic properties of the composites were influenced by the composite composition. It was found that the magnetization saturation values decreased with the increasing CoFe2O4 content (from 18.5 to 13.3 emu·g−1) while the magnetization and coercive field values increased (from 3.7 to 5.5 emu·g−1 and from 355.7 to 1225.2 Oe, respectively) with the increasing CoFe2O4 content. Additionally, the films showed a wide-range dual-peak ME response at room temperature with the ME coefficient increasing with the weight content of Terfenol-D, from 18.6 to 42.3 mV·cm−1·Oe−1. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Melt-Spun Polymer-Optical Poly(methyl methacrylate) Fibers Studied by Small-Angle X-ray Scattering
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 60; doi:10.3390/polym9020060 -
Abstract
The structural properties of novel melt-spun polymer optical fibers (POFs) are investigated by small-angle X-ray scattering. The amorphous PMMA POFs were subjected to a rapid cooling in a water quench right after extrusion in order to obtain a radial refractive index profile. Four
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The structural properties of novel melt-spun polymer optical fibers (POFs) are investigated by small-angle X-ray scattering. The amorphous PMMA POFs were subjected to a rapid cooling in a water quench right after extrusion in order to obtain a radial refractive index profile. Four fiber samples were investigated with small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The resulting distance-distribution functions obtained from the respective equatorial and meridional SAXS data exhibit a real-space correlation peak indicative of periodic cross-sectional and axial variations in the scattering density contrast. Simple model calculations demonstrate how the structural information contained particularly in the equatorial distance distribution function can be interpreted. The respective results are qualitatively verified for one of the fiber samples by comparison of the model curve with the measured SAXS data. Eventually, the study confirms that the cross-sectional variation of the (scattering-) density is the main reason for the formation of radial refractive-index profiles in the POFs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hydrophilic Polyelectrolyte Multilayers Improve the ELISA System: Antibody Enrichment and Blocking Free
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 51; doi:10.3390/polym9020051 -
Abstract
In this study, polyelectrolyte multilayers were fabricated on a polystyrene (PS) plate using a Layer-by-Layer (LbL) self-assembly technique. The resulting functional platform showed improved performance compared with conventional enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) systems. Poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDDA) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) were used as
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In this study, polyelectrolyte multilayers were fabricated on a polystyrene (PS) plate using a Layer-by-Layer (LbL) self-assembly technique. The resulting functional platform showed improved performance compared with conventional enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) systems. Poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDDA) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) were used as cationic and anionic polyelectrolytes. On the negatively-charged (PDDA/PAA)3 polyelectrolyte multilayers the hydrophilic PAA surface could efficiently decrease the magnitude of the noise signal, by inhibiting nonspecific adsorption even without blocking reagent adsorption. Moreover, the (PDDA/PAA)3 substrate covalently immobilized the primary antibody, greatly increasing the amount of primary antibody adsorption and enhancing the specific detection signal compared with a conventional PS plate. The calibration curve of the (PDDA/PAA)3 substrate showed a wide linear range, for concentrations from 0.033 to 33 nM, a large specific signal change, and a detection limit of 33 pM, even though the conventional blocking reagent adsorption step was omitted. The (PDDA/PAA)3 substrate provided a high-performance ELISA system with a simple fabrication process and high sensitivity; the system presented here shows potential for a variety of immunosensor applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Visible Light-Induced Metal Free Surface Initiated Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization of Methyl Methacrylate on SBA-15
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 58; doi:10.3390/polym9020058 -
Abstract
Surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP) is one of the most versatile techniques to modify the surface properties of materials. Recent developed metal-free SI-ATRP makes such techniques more widely applicable. Herein photo-induced metal-free SI-ATRP of methacrylates, such as methyl methacrylate, N-isopropanyl acrylamide,
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Surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP) is one of the most versatile techniques to modify the surface properties of materials. Recent developed metal-free SI-ATRP makes such techniques more widely applicable. Herein photo-induced metal-free SI-ATRP of methacrylates, such as methyl methacrylate, N-isopropanyl acrylamide, and N,N-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate, on the surface of SBA-15 was reported to fabricate organic-inorganic hybrid materials. A SBA-15-based polymeric composite with an adjustable graft ratio was obtained. The structure evolution during the SI-ATRP modification of SBA-15 was monitored and verified by FT-IR, XPS, TGA, BET, and TEM. The obtained polymeric composite showed enhanced adsorption ability for the model compound toluene in aqueous conditions. This procedure provides a low-cost, readily available, and easy modification method to synthesize polymeric composites without the contamination of metal. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Trapping a Knot into Tight Conformations by Intra-Chain Repulsions
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 57; doi:10.3390/polym9020057 -
Abstract
Knots can occur in biopolymers such as DNA and peptides. In our previous study, we systematically investigated the effects of intra-chain interactions on knots and found that long-range repulsions can surprisingly tighten knots. Here, we use this knowledge to trap a knot into
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Knots can occur in biopolymers such as DNA and peptides. In our previous study, we systematically investigated the effects of intra-chain interactions on knots and found that long-range repulsions can surprisingly tighten knots. Here, we use this knowledge to trap a knot into tight conformations in Langevin dynamics simulations. By trapping, we mean that the free energy landscape with respect to the knot size exhibits a potential well around a small knot size in the presence of long-range repulsions, and this potential can well lead to long-lived tight knots when its depth is comparable to or larger than thermal energy. We tune the strength of intra-chain repulsion such that a knot is weakly trapped. Driven by thermal fluctuations, the knot can escape from the trap and is then re-trapped. We find that the knot switches between tight and loose conformations—referred to as “knot breathing”. We use a Yukawa potential to model screened electrostatic interactions to explore the relevance of knot trapping and breathing in charged biopolymers. We determine the minimal screened length and the minimal strength of repulsion for knot trapping. We find that Coulomb-induced knot trapping is possible to occur in single-stranded DNA and peptides for normal ionic strengths. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Entropic Interactions between Two Knots on a Semiflexible Polymer
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 55; doi:10.3390/polym9020055 -
Abstract
Two knots on a string can either be separated or intertwined, and may even pass through each other. At the microscopic scale, such transitions may occur spontaneously, driven by thermal fluctuations, and can be associated with a topological free energy barrier. In this
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Two knots on a string can either be separated or intertwined, and may even pass through each other. At the microscopic scale, such transitions may occur spontaneously, driven by thermal fluctuations, and can be associated with a topological free energy barrier. In this manuscript, we study the respective location of a trefoil (31) and a figure-eight (41) knot on a semiflexible polymer, which is parameterized to model dsDNA in physiological conditions. Two cases are considered: first, end monomers are grafted to two confining walls of varying distance. Free energy profiles and transition barriers are then compared to a subset of free chains, which contain exactly one 31 and one 41 knot. For the latter, we observe a small preference to form an intertwined state, which can be associated with an effective entropic attraction. However, the respective free energy barrier is so small that we expect transition events to occur spontaneously and frequently in polymers and DNA, which are highly knotted for sufficient strain lengths. Full article
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