About this Research Topic
The Research Topic on modification and functionalization of polymer surfaces has the ambition to cover the scientific advances in this vast, dynamic, and multidisciplinary research and technological field. Countless applications rely on functional polymer surfaces, including organic coatings, plastic components, flexible electronics, medical implants, and biomedical devices. This Research Topic is therefore intended to encourage researchers worldwide to report their current ideas and novel concepts for the advancement of functional polymer surfaces, from the understanding of their fundamental physical and chemical nature, to the development of novel modification and structuration processes, and their final implementation into dedicated applications.
Diverse approaches have been devised to control the surface chemistry and topology of polymer surfaces based on bottom-up and top-down strategies. Self-assembly concepts using block-copolymers and colloidal chemistry have considerably expanded over the last two decades thanks to a refined understanding of process-structure relations. Polymer brushes are another powerful approach to functionalize surfaces owing to a high grafting density and density of functional groups, with the potential for a number of different fields, including biotechnologies, functional textiles, and sensing applications. Further templated grafting techniques enable us to spatially control local electrical conductivity and biological activity. One particular domain of increasing interest involves biologically inspired surfaces to replicate such effects as bactericide and biofouling, sensing, unpigmented coloring, light-trapping, drag reduction, self-cleaning, and self-repair. Stimulus-responsive polymer surfaces have emerged with potential as actuators and sensors at various levels of pH, temperatures, and/or light. The modification of polymer surfaces with organic, inorganic, and hybrid thin film multilayers and coatings represent yet another considerable research field of major technological relevance, in particular toward food and pharmaceutical packaging, and flexible and stretchable electronics. Parallel to these activities, fundamental characterization methods and progress in computational and theoretical surface science is also rapidly evolving. Indeed, all of these research and technological endeavors benefit from strong interdisciplinary interactions between chemists, surface scientists, materials scientists, engineers, biologists and so on, which the present Research Topic aims at highlighting.
Original research papers are welcome on all aspects that focus their attention on the modification and functionalization of polymer surfaces, including within the following areas:
• Wet chemical and dry physical modification processes
• Photopolymerization and photografting
• Polymer brushes
• Biologically active surfaces
• Micro- and nano-structuration using advanced printing and laser processes
• Bio-inspired antireflecting, colored, self-repair, and self-cleaning surfaces
• Tribological surfaces with wear-resistant, high, or low friction properties
• Multilayer films and coating technologies such as diffusion barriers, hard coatings, and transparent electrodes
• Flexible and stretchable (bio-)electronics
• Computational and theoretical polymer surface science
Keywords: Functional surfaces, Surface chemistry, Bio-inspired surfaces, Bioactivity, Nano-structuration, Thin films and coatings, Computational surface science