Deswelling Induced Morphological Changes in Dual pH and Temperature Responsive Ultra-Low Crosslinked Poly (N-Isopropyl Acrylamide)-Co-Acrylic Acid Microgels

We demonstrated the deswelling induced morphological change in dual pH and Temperature responsive ultra-low crosslinked Poly (N-isopropyl acrylamide)-co-acrylic acid microgels. The responsivity with pH and temperature were studied by light scattering and atomic force microscopy. Light scattering data suggest that at pH 4.5 the microgels undergo multiple transitions associated with collapse of pNIPAm-rich segments and repulsion between the AAc-rich segments. The evolution of punctate structures around the periphery or throughout the whole microgels at pH 4.5 and 6.5 respectively was revealed by AFM, further illustrating the heterogeneous deswelling present in the ionized copolymer microgels.
The impact of this study and understanding how ionization state of copolymer dictates the overall structural properties of microgels will widen our understanding for their applications in biotechnology