Thesis subject

Advanced zwitterionic antifouling coatings for biosensor applications

In order to develop new micro‐ and nanoscale devices, control over the surface properties is essential. Therefore we aim to develop chemical surface modifications based on innovative nanocoatings. Via proprietary surface modification technology the surface properties of micro‐ and nanoscale devices can easily be controlled, tuned and manipulated in a versatile and reproducible manner. With relative ease the wettability, biocompatibility, bioselectivity, and optical and electronic characteristics of various inorganic and polymeric surfaces can be adjusted and controlled.

Surfaces are used in a variety of biological applications, like biosensors or implants, and generally suffer significantly from fouling by biological components. This biofouling can largely be prevented by coating a surface with a very thin, doubly charged (zwitterionic) organic antifouling layer.

During a thesis project the student will work on the synthesis and characterization (NMR, IR, GC-MS) of novel, innovative precursor molecules for the preparation of protein‐repellent surface coatings. The student will also learn to prepare various types of nanocoatings on different substrates. Characterization of the nanocoatings will be performed by contact angle measurements, infrared spectroscopy (IR) and X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Protein‐repellence of the nanocoatings will be evaluated using fluorescence microscopy and label-free sensor platforms.

Figure zwitterionic coatings.png

Techniques to be used

Contact angle measurements, infrared spectroscopy (IR), X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), fluorescence microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and label-free sensing platforms.


Esther Roeven: /

Han Zuilhof:

Luc Scheres: