Off-campus SJSU users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your SJSU library user name and PIN.

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical, Chemical & Materials Engineering


Melanie McNeil


layer-by-layer self-assembly, star polymers, thin film

Subject Areas

Chemical engineering


There are numerous applications of nanostructured, functional thin films, but this work focused on biomedical applications, particularly antimicrobial surface coatings and drug delivery thin film using functionalized star polymers. In the first part of this study, star polymer-based antimicrobial surface coatings, prepared on glass substrates, were shown to reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination 200-400% faster than the current industry standard, copper. Star polymer films showed no cytotoxic effect on human liver cells, red blood cells, or epidermal skin cells.

In the second part of the study, surface-based drug delivery thin films were prepared by using a layer-by-layer self-assembly method of complimentary amine- and carboxylic acid-functionalized star polymers, namely PS-DMAEMA and PS-[PEGM/PAA], respectively. Three model dyes, representing three different drugs, were loaded into the interstitial regions of the star polymers through self-assembly to form three different occlusion complexes. The layer-by-layer self-assembly of the occlusion complexes in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) was monitored using surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and the layer growth was found to be uniform. Topographical analysis by atomic force microscopy (AFM) revealed granular morphology with a closely-packed arrangement of the star polymers.