Layer-by-layer zwitterionic modification of diverse substrates with durable anti-corrosion and anti-fouling properties

J Mater Chem B. 2019 Oct 9;7(39):6024-6034. doi: 10.1039/c9tb01337g.


A versatile coating strategy, which is suitable for the anti-corrosion and anti-fouling modification of chemically distinct substrates, is crucial in many industries. The immobilization of zwitterionic polymers onto the surface has been proven to be an excellent approach for the improvement of antibiofouling potency. However, the anti-corrosion property has not always been considered simultaneously. Herein, a layer-by-layer (LBL) zwitterionic surface modification strategy was proposed: the surface was first coated with a polydopamine (PDA) layer for anti-corrosion; then, by self-assembling a monolayer of 3-aminopropyl triethoxysilane (APTES), the anti-corrosion ability was further enhanced and the efficiency of grafting was improved; thereafter, by immobilizing the zwitterionic polysulfobetaine (PSB) polymer brush layer, the surface could effectively repel biofouling. The surface chemical composition and morphology characterization was performed by using attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and water contact angle measurements, demonstrating that the modification was stepwise introduced onto the surface. The thickness of coating was observed and measured by SEM cross-sectional analysis. In vitro studies revealed that the PSB coated surfaces dramatically reduced the adhesion of bovine serum albumin (BSA), bovine plasma fibrinogen (Fg), bovine γ-globulin (γ-GL), the mixture of these proteins, fibroblasts, E. coli and S. aureus with superior cytocompatibility and hemocompatibility. Moreover, the electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and acidic corrosion studies indicated that an excellent and durable anti-corrosion property was established successfully on the surfaces of stainless steel, cotton textile and wood plates, confirming the feasibility of the LBL surface modification strategy. Significantly, this LBL surface chemistry may be widely applied for the modification of other materials, such as biosensors, biomedical implants and/or devices, and marine equipment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects
  • Biofouling / prevention & control*
  • Corrosion
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Hemolysis / drug effects
  • Indoles / chemistry*
  • Indoles / pharmacology*
  • Materials Testing
  • Mice
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Polymers / pharmacology*
  • Propylamines / chemistry
  • Silanes / chemistry
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Surface Properties


  • Indoles
  • Polymers
  • Propylamines
  • Silanes
  • polydopamine
  • amino-propyl-triethoxysilane