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Temperature, pH, and Ionic Strength Induced Changes of the Swelling Behavior of PNIPAM−Poly(allylacetic acid) Copolymer Microgels
M. Karg, I. Pastoriza-Santos, B. Rodriguez-González, R. von Klitzing, S. Wellert, T. Hellweg:
Langmuir, 24, 12, 6300-6306 (2008)
doi: 10.1021/la702996p

The volume phase transition of colloidal microgels made of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) is well-studied and it is known that the transition temperature can be influenced by copolymerization. A series of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-allylacetic acid) copolymers with different contents of allylacetic acid (AAA) was synthesized by means of a simple radical polymerization approach. The thermoresponsive behavior of these particles was studied using dynamic light scattering (DLS). Further characterization was done by employing transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and zeta potential measurements. TEM observations reveal the approximately spherical shape and low polydispersity of the copolymer particles. In addition, the measured zeta potentials provide information about the relative surface charge. Since these copolymers are much more sensitive to external stimuli such as pH and ionic strength than their pure PNIPAM counterparts, the volume phase transition was investigated at two different pH values and various salt concentrations. At pH 10 for the copolymer microgels with the highest AAA content, a significant shift of the volume phase transition temperature toward higher values is found. For higher AAA content, a change in pH from 8 to 10 can induce a change in radius of up to 100 nm making the particles interesting as pH controlled actuators.


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