Multidomain amphiphilic polymer antifouling coatings

Multidomain amphiphilic polymer antifouling coatings


Nonspecific adsorption of proteins is a challenging problem for the development of biocompatible materials, as well as for antifouling and fouling-release coatings for marine industry. It has been long proven that both, hydrophobic as well as hydrophilic materials suffer from certain drawbacks. This is especially true for marine applications, where both types of materials are vulnerable against fouling due to wide variety of adhesion mechanisms. Consequently, the concept of amphiphilic materials, composed of hydrophobic and hydrophilic domains, represents the latest trend in pursuit of antifouling properties [1]. Polyzwitterionic systems have been employed as viable option for fouling resistant materials or coatings [2]. Zwitterionic polymers bear equimolar amount of oppositely charged groups homogenously distributed along the macromolecule chain. Owing to such composition, they have zero net charge while exhibiting extremely hydrophilic character, able to form tightly bound hydration layer.

Within this project novel zwitterionic polymer systems are developed based on a modular synthesis approach [3]. Hydrophilic and amphiphilic coatings are obtained via direct cross-linking of the obtained macromolecular or nanogel building blocks or via embedding them into hydrophobic matrices. Characterization of antifouling properties is done in cooperation with project partners in laboratory conditions, as well as in field tests in marine environment.


  1. J. A. Callow, M. E. Callow, Nat. Commun. 2011, 2, 244
  2. Q. Wei, T. Becherer, S. Angioletti-Uberti, J. Dzubiella, C. Wischke, A.T. Neffe, A. Lendlein, M. Ballauff, R. Haag, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 8004
  3. A. Dundua, S. Franzka, M. Ulbricht, Macromol. Rapid Comm. 2016, 37, 2030-2036
Funding: This work is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (grant # 03SX370 "Foulprotect"). Foulprotect

Prof. Mathias Ulbricht