Self-assembling amphiphillic triblock polymers with side-chain mesogens in the hydrophobic core for neural prosthetic devices

POLY 374

Luke Theogarajan, ltheogar@mit.edu1, Carmen Scholz, cscholz@chemistry.uah.edu2, Salil Desai1, Ralph Jensen, ralph.jensen@med.va.gov3, Marc Baldo1, and Joseph Rizzo4. (1) Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 13-3061, 77 Mass. Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, (2) Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama in Huntsville, John Wright Drive, MSB, Huntsville, AL 35899, (3) Center for Innovative Visual Rehabilitation Boston VA, S. Huntington Ave., MS 151E, Boston, MA 02130, (4) The Boston Retinal Implant Project, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02103
The Boston Retinal Implant Project hopes to restore useful vision to patients who suffer from age-related macular degeneration and reinitis pigmentosa by developing a retinal prosthesis. We have recently conducted retinal neurophysiology experiments in our lab that show that neural tissue can be effectively stimulated using potassium ions. To enable the design of a neural prosthesis using this method we have synthesized amphiphilic, poly(methyloxazoline)-poly((dimethylsiloxane-co-methyhydrosiloxane)-poly(methyloxazoline) triblock polymers that are functionalized with various receptor molecules via polymer analogous hydrosilylation of the ω-alkenyl substituted receptor molecule. Here we show amphiphilic triblock polymers functionalized with 18-crown-6 side chains as an example of self-assembling receptor functionalized membranes. The density of the side chain mesogens can be controlled by varying the methylhydrosiloxane content of the hydrophobic core. Electroformation of vesicles demonstrates the self-assembling nature of these polymers.