Renewable Surface Chemistry


Photochemically driven SI-ATRP to generate polymer brushes for adhesion and antifouling properties

Students: Jonas Jensen and Christina Wulff Damlund Nielsen


This project will make further studies in regards to adhesion and antifouling properties of the photochemical driven SI-ATRP based on the discoveries made in the Open Science project Metal-Free ATRP (see


Adhesion of polymer brushes on various substrates is fundamental for many different applications in wide ranging industries. Atom transfer is one of the techniques used to synthesize covalently attached polymer brushes on various surfaces. The process is often based on the use of metals and thus is both expensive and an environmental hazard. However, by removing the metals from the process, the atom transfer can potentially become both cheaper and healthier for the environment.


Metal-free atom transfer has been successfully achieved using surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP). However, today the method is not suitable for most production lines. In this project, optimization of the SI-ATRP method is investigated to secure both the adhesion strength, antifouling properties and the speed of the process to prime it for industrial use. The previous study showed that the photocatalyst was quite instable. Therefore, this will be investigated in relation to kinetics and thermodynamics using NMR spectroscopy. Polymerization of different monomers like GMA, HEMA and EO will be investigated in regards to the effects on adhesion strength and/or antifouling properties. Furthermore, it is desirable to investigate the effect of diluting the polymer film for both the adhesion strength and the antifouling properties.1


  1. Huang, C. F., Surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization for applications in sensors, non-biofouling surfaces and adsorbents. Polym. J. 2016, 48 (4), 341-350.

Involved partnes: Aarhus University (Steen Uttrup Pedersen, Kim Daasbjerg, Rikke Louise Meyer, Morten Foss)

Data, progress, and status on the project is found here.

If you’re interested in hearing more about this project, SPOMAN or want to hear about the possibilities for starting a collaboration, please contact us at