Well defined hybrid PNIPAM core-shell microgels: size variation of the silica nanoparticle core
M. Karg, S. Wellert, S. Prevost, R. Schweins, C. Dewhurst, L.M. Liz-Marzán, T. Hellweg:
Colloid & Polymer Science, 289, 5-6, 699-709 (2011)
Thermoresponsive core-shell hybrid microgels with different core sizes were prepared by radical precipitation polymerization of the monomer N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) in the presence of functionalized silica cores. The size of the cores was varied in a range of 70-170 nm in diameter. Characterization of the hybrid microgels was done by means of imaging techniques such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). In addition, scattering techniques were used to study the swelling behavior and network structure of the responsive polymer shells. While dynamic light scattering (DLS) was employed to investigate the overall particle dimensions, SANS allowed to determine the correlation length ξ of the polymer network. Additionally, SANS also provides the average core size and the polydispersity of the cores in-situ using the method of contrast variation.