The surfaces of two types of soft contact lenses - neutral and ionic hydrogels - were characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and sum-frequency-generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy. AFM measurements in saline solution showed that the presence of ionic functional groups at the surface lowered the friction and adhesion to a hydrophobic polystyrene tip. This was attributed to the specific interactions of water and the molecular orientation of hydrogel chains at the surface. Friction and adhesion behavior also revealed the presence of domains of non-crosslinked polymer chains at the lens surface. SFG showed that the lens surface became partially dehydrated upon exposure to air. On this partially dehydrated lens surface, the non-crosslinked domains exhibited low friction and adhesion in AFM. Fully hydrated in saline solution, the non-crosslinked domains extended more than tens of nanometers into solution and were mobile.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ceramics and Composites
- Mechanics of Materials