PEGylation of carbon nanotubes via mussel inspired chemistry: Preparation, characterization and biocompatibility evaluation

A novel strategy for surface modification of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) was developed via combination of mussel inspired chemistry and Michael addition reaction. In this procedure, pristine MWCNT were first coated with polydopamine (PDA) through self polymerization of dopamine. The PDA functionalized CNT (CNT-PDA) were further functionalized with amino-terminated polymers (polyPEGMA), which were synthesized via free radical polymerization using cysteamine hydrochloride as the chain transfer agent and poly(ethylene glycol) monomethyl ether methacylate as the monomer. The successful modification of CNT was ascertained by a series of characterization techniques including transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, thermal gravimetric analysis and X-ray photoelectron spectrometry. The polymer modified CNT showed enhanced dispersibility in aqueous and organic solution. Cytotoxicity evaluation of polymers modified CNT showed that these modified CNT are biocompatible with cells. Finally, due to the universal adhesive of PDA and chain transfer free radical polymerization, this strategy developed in this work can also be extended for surface modification of many other nanomaterials with different functional polymers.

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