Silver-PEGylated dendrimer nanocomposite coating for anti-fouling thin film composite membranes for water treatment

Sui Zhang, Guanglei Qiu, Yen Peng Ting, Tai-Shung Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


This study proposes a facile method to fabricate thin film composite (TFC) membranes with silver-polyethylene glycol PEGylated dendrimer nanocomposite coatings on the surface to reduce both bacteria and protein fouling in the sustainable water treatment processes. Interestingly, the surfaces of TFC membranes have been imparted with different functionalities such as carboxylic acid, amine, PEG or silver nanoparticles in the modification process, which provide useful platforms to compare the anti-fouling properties of the four kinds of functional groups. Significant improvements on hydrophilicity have been found after modifications. All modified membranes show reduced attachment of E. coli and bovin serum albumin (BSA). Among them, the silver-PEGylated dendrimer nanocomposite membrane is subjected to the least fouling by the maximum fouling reduction of 99.8%. In particular, as a unique strength of this study, AFM force measurements were performed on membrane surfaces to study the interactions between protein and different surfaces. The adhesion force between the amine-functionalized surface and the tip suggests that the electrostatic interactions between the amine-modified membrane is very strong, resulting in a fast initial deposition of proteins on the membrane surface. The adhesion forces for PEG and silver nanoparticle modified membranes are small, which well explain the lower protein fouling of the membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
StatePublished - Sep 5 2013


  • AFM force
  • Antifouling
  • Dendrimer
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Silver nanocomposite
  • Thin film composite membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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