Kr-F laser surface treatment of poly(methyl methacrylate), glycol-modified poly(ethylene terephthalate), and polytetrafluoroethylene for enhanced adhesion of Escherichia Coli K-12


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Virginia Tech


Environmental response as determined by the cell-polymer interaction stands as the greatest restriction to the implementation of new polymeric materials. Cell-polymer interactions are most influenced by substrate surface free energy, surface chemistry, topography, and rigidity[1]. Alteration of these properties through surface treatment has become a common approach to attain the desired cellular interaction.

This study investigates Kr-F excimer laser(248 nm) surface modification of poly(methyl methacrylate), glycol-modified poly(ethylene terephthalate), and polytetrafluoroethylene and its effect on the adhesion of Escherichia Coli K-12 bacteria. These three polymers were chosen for their very different mechanisms of ablation as well as their range of surface free energies and bacterial responses[2-4].

Polymers were ablated using a pulsed Kr-F excimer laser with a dose of 3.3x 10-9 W/cm2 per pulse. This high level of UV radiation was sufficient to cause significant surface damage on both PMMA and PTFE. PETG showed some signs of wavering in the surface and material removal was confirmed through optical microscopy. Due to the extensive damage associated with ablation, a much lower-powered, continuous beam Kr-F laser was used for contact angle samples. It delivered a dose of 1.27 W/cm2. Contact angle measurements were then taken which showed dose-dependent surface free energy in all three polymers.

Following ablation, bacterial adhesion to PETG was improved two-fold, while it decreased in both PTFE and PMMA. Surface chemistry analysis supported the idea that the ablation occurred through chain scission, since there were no new surface groups created.

There were significan texture modifications observed in PTFE and PMMA whicle PETG demonstrated the rolling structure characteristic of polyesters following laser ablation described in Wefers et al [4] and Hopp et al [5]. Contact angle measurements showed a correlation between radiation dose and surface free energy of all three polymers.



polymer, surface treatment, laser ablation, cellular adhesion