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Network Deconstruction Reveals Network Structure in Responsive Microgels

Detailed characterization of hydrogel particle erosion revealed critical physicochemical differences between spheres, where network decomposition was informative of network structure. Real-time, in situ monitoring of the triggered erosion of colloidal hydrogels (microgels) was performed via multiangle light scattering. The solution-average molar mass and root-mean-square radii of eroding particles were measured as a function of time for microgels prepared from N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAm) or N-isopropylmethacrylamide (NIPMAm), copolymerized with a chemically labile cross-linker (1,2-dihydroxylethylene)bisacrylamide (DHEA). Precipitation polymerization was employed to yield particles of comparable dimensions but with distinct topological features. Heterogeneous cross-linker incorporation resulted in a heterogeneous network structure for pNIPAm microgels. During the erosion reaction, mass loss proceeded from the exterior toward the interior of the polymer. In contrast, pNIPMAm microgels had a more homogene...

Authors:   Michael H. Smith; Emily S. Herman; L. Andrew Lyon
Journal:   Journal of Physical Chemistry B
Year:   2011
DOI:   10.1021/jp111634k
Publication date:   22-Mar-2011
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