Antimicrobial Brushes on Titanium via “Grafting to” Using Phosphonic Acid/Pyridinium Containing Block Copolymers

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Rafael Methling - , Paderborn University (Author)
  • Oliver Dückmann - , Paderborn University (Author)
  • Frank Simon - , Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden (Author)
  • Cornelia Wolf-Brandstetter - , Chair of Biomaterials (Author)
  • Dirk Kuckling - , Paderborn University (Author)


Coating medical implants with antibacterial polymers may prevent postoperative infections which are a common issue for conventional titanium implants and can even lead to implant failure. Easily applicable diblock copolymers are presented that form polymer brushes via “grafting to” mechanism on titanium and equip the modified material with antibacterial properties. The polymers carry quaternized pyridinium units to combat bacteria and phosphonic acid groups which allow the linear chains to be anchored to metal surfaces in a convenient coating process. The polymers are synthesized via reversible-addition-fragmentation-chain-transfer (RAFT) polymerization and postmodifications and are characterized using NMR spectroscopy and SEC. Low grafting densities are a major drawback of the “grafting to” approach compared to “grafting from”. Thus, the number of phosphonic acid groups in the anchor block are varied to investigate and optimize the surface binding. Modified titanium surfaces are examined regarding their composition, wetting behavior, streaming potential, and coating stability. Evaluation of the antimicrobial properties revealed reduced bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation for certain polymers, albeit the cell biocompatibility against human gingival fibroblasts is also impaired. The presented findings show the potential of easy-to-apply polymer coatings and aid in designing next-generation implant surface modifications.


Original languageEnglish
Article number2200665
Pages (from-to)2200665
Number of pages10
JournalMacromolecular Materials and Engineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85148453324
ORCID /0000-0001-9509-6145/work/142257649
WOS 000937656200001
Mendeley 002d2f4f-ca75-38a9-ab3d-c18f995654dc


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis


  • Antimicrobial polymers, Antimicrobial surfaces, Grafting to, Polymer brushes