The formation and characterization of cyclodextrin functionalized polystyrene nanofibers produced by electrospinning
Polystyrene (PS) nanofibers containing the inclusion complex forming beta-cyclodextrin (β-CD) were successfully produced by electrospinning aimed at developing functional fibrous nanowebs. By optimization of the electrospinning parameters, which included varying the relative concentration of PS and β-CD in the solutions, bead-free fibers were produced. Homogeneous solutions of β-CD and PS in dimethylformamide (DMF) were used with concentrations of PS varying from 10% to 25% (w/v, with respect to DMF), and β-CD concentrations of 1% to 50% (w/w, with respect to PS). The presence of β-CD facilitated the production of bead-free PS fibers even from lower polymer concentrations as a result of the higher conductivity of the PS/CD solutions. The morphology and the production of bead-free PS/CD fibers were highly dependent on the β-CD contents. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) and atomic force microscope (AFM) images showed that incorporation of β-CD yielded PS fibers with rougher surfaces. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and direct insertion probe pyrolysis mass spectroscopy (DP-MS) results confirmed the presence of β-CD in the PS fibers. X-ray diffraction (XRD) spectra of the fibers indicated that the β-CD molecules are distributed within the PS matrix without any phase separated crystalline aggregates up to 40% (w/w) β-CD loading. Furthermore, chemical analyses by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy studies confirm that β-CD molecules are located within the PS fiber matrix. Finally, preliminary investigations using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and time-of-flight static secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-static-SIMS) show the presence of the cyclodextrin molecules in the outer molecular layers of the fiber surfaces. The XPS and ToF-SIMS findings indicate that cyclodextrin functionalized PS webs would have the potential to be used as molecular filters and/or nanofilters for the purposes of filtration/purification/separation owing to surface associated β-CD molecules which have inclusion complexation capability. © 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd.