9539 – Amphiphilic Polymer Thin Films with Enhanced Resistance to Biofilm Formation (9667 combined herein)

Amphiphilic copolymers with zwitterionic and fluorinated moieties that have antifouling properties.
  • Amphiphilic copolymers with zwitterionic and fluorinated moieties that have antifouling properties.


Biofouling is a critical obstacle in marine transportation, marine research, food manufacturing, and desalination processes, and is responsible for a range of diseases. Biofilms formed due to fouling result in clogging of pipelines and filters, infection due to contamination of medical devices, reduction of membrane performance, and deterioration of ship efficiency. Highly hydrophilic coatings have made important progress in the antifouling of devices, but amphiphilic chemistries have emerged as a new, potentially superior choice.

A key strategy is to develop antifouling coatings that can reduce or inhibit the adhesion of microorganisms. Researchers at Cornell University have synthesized an amphiphilic copolymer that contains hydrophilic zwitterionic and hydrophobic fluorinated moieties, mixed with molecular-scale heterogeneity, that has proven to reduce Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation. The polymer has been shown to be effective at the solid-liquid-air interface, an area most prone to biofilm formation by certain microbes. Amphiphilic copolymers with repeating zwitterionic and fluorinated units were synthesized using initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD). The iCVD technique uniquely enables the synthesis of this material due to its solvent-free nature. The novel design strategy for amphiphilic polymers results in a mismatch of surface energies which makes it very effective at thwarting the attachment mechanisms of bacteria.




  • Enhanced antifouling properties and reduced environmental and/or toxicological impact.

Potential Applications

  • Marine transportation, food manufacturing, water desalination, health care facilities, medical implants.
  • The polymer can be applied as a coating to a filter, a membrane, an implant device, a medical or chemical diagnosis device, a sensor, a signal-detection device, a breathing device, a dialysis device, an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation device, a drug delivery device, a transportation vehicle, sieve, syringe, plastic tubing, or storage tank.

Contact Information

Name: Ryan Luebke

Email: rtl77@cornell.edu

Phone: 607-254-4483