Distinct Antifouling Mechanisms on Different Chain Densities of Zwitterionic Polymers

Clil Regev, Zhongyi Jiang, Roni Kasher, Yifat Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antifouling polymer coating surfaces are used in widespread industries applications. Zwitterionic polymers have been identified as promising materials in developing polymer coating surfaces. Importantly, the density of the polymer chains is crucial for acquiring superior antifouling performance. This study introduces two different zwitterionic polymer density surfaces by applying molecular modeling tools. To assess the antifouling performance, we mimic static adsorption test, by placing the foulant model bovine serum albumin (BSA) on the surfaces. Our findings show that not only the density of the polymer chain affect antifouling performance, but also the initial orientation of the BSA on the surface. Moreover, at a high-density surface, the foulant either detaches from the surface or anchor on the surface. At low-density surface, the foulant does not detach from the surface, but either penetrates or anchors on the surface. The anchoring and the penetrating mechanisms are elucidated by the electrostatic interactions between the foulant and the surface. While the positively charged ammonium groups of the polymer play major role in the interactions with the negatively charged amino acids of the BSA, in the penetrating mechanism the ammonium groups play minor role in the interactions with the contact with the foulant. The sulfonate groups of the polymer pull the foulant in the penetrating mechanism. Our work supports the design of a high-density polymer chain surface coating to prevent fouling phenomenon. Our study provides for the first-time insights into the molecular mechanism by probing the interactions between BSA and the zwitterion surface, while testing high- and low-densities polymer chains.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number7394
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • antifouling
  • grafted polymer density
  • hydration layer
  • molecular simulations
  • poly zwitterion

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Drug Discovery
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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