The ability to strongly attach biomolecules such as enzymes and antibodies to surfaces underpins a host of technologies that are rapidly growing in utility and importance. Such technologies include biosensors for medical and environmental applications and protein or antibody diagnostic arrays for early disease detection. Emerging new applications include continuous flow reactors for enzymatic chemical, textile or biofuels processing and implantable biomaterials that interact with their host via an interfacial layer of active biomolecules. In many of these applications it is desirable to maintain physical properties of an underlying material whilst engineering a surface suitable for attachment of proteins or peptide constructs. Nanoscale polymeric interlayers are attractive for this purpose.
We have developed interlayers that form the basis of a new biomolecule binding technology with significant advantages over other currently available methods. The interlayers, created by the ion implantation of polymer like surfaces, achieve covalent immobilization on immersion of the surface in protein solution. The interlayers can be created on any underlying material and ion stitched into its surface. The covalent immobilization of biomolecules from solution is achieved through the action of highly reactive free radicals in the interlayer.
In this paper, we present characterisation of the structure and properties of the interlayers and describe a detailed kinetic model for the covalent attachment of protein molecules directly from solution.