National Institute for Research and Development of Isotopic and Molecular Technologies (INCDTIM)

The team consists of members from several groups dealing with new materials, solid state NMR-spectroscopy and isotopically labelled organic molecules. Amongst its research expertise polydopamine is found, where we are active since 2012.

Polydopamine is easily synthesized by oxidation of dopamine, a cheap commercial material also acting in humans as a neurotransmitter. It has attracted much interest since Lee and Messersmith demonstrated 2007 its outstanding property of adhesion to almost all types of surfaces even under water. Thanks to this adhering property, to its biocompatibility and chemical behavior polydopamine has found wide interest and also applications.

Important contributions of our team to the polydopamine field comprise the hitherto not fully understood structure of polydopamine, the application as coating materials, e. g. for magnetic nanoparticles, and the chemistry of analogues of polydopamine. We proposed structural models based on results in solid state NMR-spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, ESR-spectroscopy and XPS. 13C- and 2H-Isotopically labelled dopamines were involved in these investigations providing new possibilities in solid state NMR application for analyzing the structure of polydopamine. There are further experiences in SERS investigations and interpretation of various surfaces. We synthesized derivatives and DOPA-amides as structural analogs of dopamine and polymers thereof. They can serve as platforms for linking functionalities useful in biomedicine. Ways of post functionalization (e. g. diazotransfer) of polydopamine were developed in order to introduce entities of practical interest.

Since polydopamine chemistry is in focus of actual research internationally and a number of practical applications in the material field and biomedical area are expected, we want to continue our research in this topic by exploiting our wide spread experience. Hereby, hitherto unsolved problems will be addressed and potential applications will be sought.

Within the Insbioration project we aim at testing and validating novel methodologies useful in the polydopamine field. These will allow to gain novel insights into the adhesion of PDA and its analogues to multiple materials and into the interaction mechanisms at interfaces resulting from various effective functional groups. By selective 13C/15N/2H isotopic labelling of the starting molecular unit (dopamine and analogues), local markers are introduced in the final material, which are expected to “report” with chemical site selectivity about the changes in the solid state-NMR spectra determined by the interface.

The kinetics of the PDA adsorption and/or chemisorption process(es) to the metallic surface will be monitored by time-resolved in situ SERS measurements. Different solid plasmonic nanostructures will be employed in order to verify whether SERS signal of PDA can be obtained in practice constantly.

The role of the amino group in the strong and almost substrate-independent adhesion of PDA-compounds will be further investigated. In addition to PDA new analogues will be synthesized containing substituents at the amino group or containing extra amino or hydroxy groups. Appropriate products will be applied by other partners in the project for specific surface modifications. Support will be provided in post-chemical crosslinking strategies at polydopamine films.

We will contribute to the establishment of water-soluble dopamine containing polymers. The group will also be involved in finding ways to detach or degrade PDA films and eventually to redeposit or recycle them.



Contact details of the project partner

Dr. Claudiu Filip

Dr. Jürgen Liebscher