An orthogonal, charge-density-versus-net-charge, surface-chemical gradient, composed of ternary mixed self-assembled monolayers, has been prepared from three hydrophilic components: positively chargeable amine-terminated, negatively chargeable carboxylic-acid-terminated, and hydroxyl-terminated alkanethiols, with the latter bearing a slight negative charge in electrolytes. The chemical composition and its distribution have been monitored by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The adsorption behavior of negatively charged SiO2 nanoparticles and positively charged amine-modified SiO2 nanoparticles has been studied. Additionally, negatively charged proteins (bovine serum albumin and fibrinogen) and positively charged proteins (lysozyme) were adsorbed on the gradients. Negatively charged nanoparticles and proteins adsorb mainly in the positively charged region and vice versa, illustrating that the adsorption behavior is mainly influenced by electrostatic interactions, and showing the potential of the gradient for sorting applications. Despite literature reports to the contrary, no area was found that was completely resistant to protein adsorption.
Beurer, E., N.V. Venkataraman, M. Sommer, N.D. Spencer