Prevention of the non-specific adhesion of bacteria, cells or proteins to a solid surface is essential for sustaining the functionality and stability of medical implants. Poly(2-oxazolines) (POx) are a class of synthetic polymers, which among other features (e.g., biocompatibility, water solubility) possess anti-biofouling properties and accordingly, they are very promising for this purpose. In our contribution, we investigate the effect of cold atmospheric pressure plasma generated by diffuse coplanar surface barrier discharge (DCSBD) on thin POx-based films. Our main objective is to adjust the appropriate conditions of the plasma treatment to achieve the cross-linking of the POx layer, while the anti-biofouling properties stay maintained. For this purpose, POx-based statistical copolymer was deposited on plasma activated silicon wafers by spin-coating. Three various concentrations (2, 5, 10 wt%) of the POx solution resulted in three different thickness of the layer. Achieved POx layers were exposed to cold DCSBD plasma and chemical, and morphological changes were characterized by means of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and profilometry. Very similar values of roughness before and after treatment prove the minor effect of DCSBD plasma on the morphology of POx layer; however, FTIR spectra indicate the undesired etching of the POx layer during the higher exposure times. Despite that the cross-linking of POx layer was not confirmed by available methods, these results provide a good starting point for better understanding of specific processes and further adjusting the suitable conditions of plasma treatment for achieving stable POx coatings.Keywords: Poly(2oxazolines), coating, antibiofouling, DCSBD, atmospheric pressure plasma
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