Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

S. Michael Kilbey

Committee Members

Bin Zhao, Michael Best


Functional materials built from polymer scaffolds inspire many potential uses, including as biomaterial surfaces or sensors. In situ functionalization using well-defined polymer “brushes” made by tethering polymer chains to a surface by one of their ends is explored. Specifically, poly(2-vinyl-4,4-dimethylazlactone) (PVDMA) chains, which contain a reactive azlactone ring at each repeat unit, are tethered to a surface to create brushes and these films are functionalized using a variety of small molecules, primarily amines or peptides. Relationships between polymer brush thickness, size of the functionalizing molecule, solution concentration, reaction time, and extent of functionalization were determined through measurements of brush thickness and PVDMA characterizations. These synthesis-structure-property relationships help inform decisions about how to create functional polymer scaffolds with desired properties.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."