Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Materials & Chemicals
Materials Chemicals
Plasma-Enhanced Functionalization of Substrate Surfaces with Quaternary Ammonium and Phosphonium Groups
WARF: P05376US

Inventors: Ferencz Denes, Sorin Manolache, Luis Emilio Cruz-Barba, Alvaro De Jesus Martinez-Gomez

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a method of efficiently implanting antimicrobial functional groups on surfaces.
Conventional antibacterial agents, including solid, liquid and gaseous disinfectants, exhibit residual toxicity that could lead to medical and environmental problems. Covalently implanting antibacterial functionalities onto inert polymer surfaces provides one option for eliminating this residual toxicity; however, current surface functionalization procedures involve complex wet chemistry approaches that are elaborate, environmentally hazardous and time-consuming, and only work with a limited range of substrates.
The Invention
UW-Madison reseachers have developed a non-equilibrium, radio frequency plasma-enhanced approach for efficiently implanting antimicrobial functional groups on surfaces. A plasma treatment creates active sites directly on a substrate surface. Linker molecules are bound to the active sites, and quaternary ammonium precursor molecules are reacted with the linker molecules to result in anti-bacterial functional groups bound to the substrate surface. Alternatively, the active sites are exposed to a plasma of polymer precursor molecules, which are in turn reacted with quaternary phosphonium precursor molecules to generate the bactericidal groups. A third embodiment involves reacting polymer precursor molecules with linker molecules bound to the active sites. The polymers contain amine groups, which are converted to antimicrobial quarternary ammonium groups via alkylation.
  • Bactericidal substrates for food processing, medical, biotechnology and possibly space-travel applications
Key Benefits
  • Efficiently and covalently functionalizes even the most inert polymer surfaces
  • Suitable substrates include a wide range of polymers, metals and glasses.
  • Cost effective – uses only a small amount of material, does not require vacuum pumps, proceeds quickly and requires minimal energy
  • Environmentally benign
  • Any potentially toxic, volatile reaction by-products can be easily trapped and neutralized.
For current licensing status, please contact Mark Staudt at [javascript protected email address] or 608-960-9845