Exploitation of block copolymers as coating material in capillary electromigration techniques

Sari Tähkä

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesis


This Master’s thesis deals with the use of block copolymers in capillary electromigration techniques (literature part) and both in material chemistry and capillary electrophoresis (experimental part). Amphiphilic block copolymers are an interesting research topic due to their specific molecular structure, which consists of at least two parts with different chemical natures. The great potential of block copolymers arises from their tunability of size, shape and composition. In recent years, numerous copolymer architectures have been developed and the demand to find new materials for biomolecule separations remains high. The literature part introduces rarely used coating materials, block copolymers, in capillary electromigration techniques. The two main electromigration techniques where block copolymers have been tested are capillary electrophoresis and capillary gel electrophoresis. Block copolymers have been attached to capillary inner surface permanently and dynamically. In capillary gel electrophoresis the micellization ability of block copolymers has been already well-known for many decades, and specific studies of copolymer phases have been published.

In the experimental part of this M.Sc. thesis, double-hydrophilic poly(N-methyl-2-vinylpyridinium iodide- block –ethylene oxide) diblock copolymer was used in two very different applications to emphasize the potential of block copolymers in various fields. In both studies, the hydrophilicity of ethylene oxide block and polycationic nature of vinylpyridinium block were utilized. First poly(N-methyl-2-vinylpyridinium iodide- block –ethylene oxide) was used to mediate the self-assembly of ferritin protein cages. The aim of this research was to explore complexation of double-hydrophilic diblock copolymers with protein cages and to study the molecular morphology of the formed nanoparticle/copolymer assemblies. Complexation process was studied in aqueous solvent medium and formation of complexes was investigated with dynamic light scattering. Transmission electron microscopy and small-angle x-ray scattering technique were used to characterize the size and shape of the particles. In the second approach the double-hydrophilic block copolymer was used as capillary coating material in two different capillary electromigration techniques. The possibility to alter the electro-osmotic flow and to gain a new tool for biomolecule studies was explored. Our results indicated that poly(N-methyl-2-vinylpyridinium iodide- block- ethylene oxide) binds efficiently with oppositely charged objects and surfaces via electrostatic interactions, and the polyethylene oxide block gives good stability in aqueous medium. Nanoparticle co-assembly studies showed that the poly(N-methyl-2-vinylpyridinium iodide- block- ethylene oxide) complexes were approximately 200-400 nm in diameter. For capillary coating studies, the polymer suppressed electro-osmotic flow efficiently and showed good run-to-run stability with RSD values from 1.4 to 7.9 %. Coating was observed to be very stable at pH range from 4.5 to 8.5 with ultra-low mobilities. The results achieved prove the potential of double-hydrophilic block copolymers in different various fields in the future.
Translated title of the contribution Lohkopolymeerien hyödyntäminen kapillaarielektromigraatiotekniikoissa
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2013
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis

Fields of Science

  • 116 Chemical sciences

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