Authors Zimmermann, R. ; Kuckling, D. ; Kaufmann, M. ; Werner, C. ; Duval, J. F. L.
Title Electrokinetics of a poly(N-isopropylacrylamid-co-carboxyacrylamid) soft thin-film. Evidence of segment distribution in the swollen state
Date 08.12.2010
Number 25123
Abstract Streaming current measurements were performed on poly(N-isopropylacrylamid-co-carboxyacrylamid) (PNiPAAM-co-carboxyAAM) soft thin films over a broad range of pH and salt concentration (pH 2.5-10, 0.1-10 mM KCl) at a constant temperature of 22 °C. The films are negatively charged because of the ionization of the carboxylic acid groups in the repeat unit of the copolymer. For a given salt concentration, the absolute value of the streaming current exhibits an unconventional, nonmonotonous dependence on pH with the presence of a maximum at pH 6.4. This maximum is most pronounced at low electrolyte concentration and gradually disappears with increasing salinity. Complementary ellipsometry data further reveal that the average film thickness increases by a factor of 2.2 with increasing pH over the whole range of salt concentration examined. The larger the solution salt concentration, the lower the pH value where expansion of the hydrogel layer starts to take place. The dependence of film thickness on pH and electrolyte concentration remarkably follows that obtained for surface conductivity. The streaming current and surface conductivity results could be consistently interpreted on a quantitative basis using the theory we previously derived for the electrokinetics of charged diffuse (heterogeneous) soft thin films complemented here by the derivation of a general expression for the surface conductivity of such systems. In particular, the maximum in streaming current versus pH is unambiguously attributed to the presence of an interphasial gradient in polymer segment density following the heterogeneous expansion of the chains within the film upon swelling with increasing pH. A quantitative inspection of the data further suggests that pK values of ionogenic groups in the film as derived from the streaming current and surface conductivity data differ by 0.9 pH unit. Such a difference is attributed to the impact of position-dependent hydrophobicity across the film on the degree of ionization of carboxylic sites.
Publisher Langmuir
Citation Langmuir 26 (2010) 18169-18181

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