Internal nanoparticle structure of temperature-responsive self-assembled PNIPAM-b-PEG-b-PNIPAM triblock copolymers in aqueous solutions: NMR, SANS and Light Scattering studies

Sergey K Filippov, Anna Yurevna Bogomolova, Leonid Kaberov, Nadiia Velychkivska, Larisa Starovoytova, Zulfiya Cernochova, Sarah E Rogers, Wing Man Lau, Vitaliy V Khutoryanskiy, Michael T Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
145 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this study we report detailed information on the internal structure of PNIPAM-b-PEG-b-PNIPAM nanoparticles formed from self-assembly in aqueous solutions upon increase in temperature. NMR spectroscopy, light scattering and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) were used to monitor different stages of nanoparticle formation as a function of temperature, providing insight into the fundamental processes involved. The presence of PEG in a copolymer structure significantly affects the formation of nanoparticles, making their transition to occur over a broader temperature range. The crucial parameter that controls the transition is the ratio of PEG/PNIPAM. For pure PNIPAM, the transition is sharp; the higher the PEG/PNIPAM ratio results in a broader transition. This behavior is explained by different mechanisms of PNIPAM block incorporation during nanoparticle formation at different PEG/PNIPAM ratios. Contrast variation experiments using SANS show that the structure of nanoparticles above cloud point temperatures for PNIPAM-b-PEG-b-PNIPAM copolymers is drastically different from the structure of PNIPAM mesoglobules. In contrast with pure PNIPAM mesoglobules, where solid-like particles and chain network with a mesh size of 1-3 nm are present; nanoparticles formed from PNIPAM-b-PEG-b-PNIPAM copolymers have non-uniform structure with "frozen" areas interconnected by single chains in Gaussian conformation. SANS data with deuterated "invisible" PEG blocks imply that PEG is uniformly distributed inside of a nanoparticle. It is kinetically flexible PEG blocks which affect the nanoparticle formation by prevention of PNIPAM microphase separation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5314-5323
Number of pages10
JournalLangmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids
Volume32
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2016

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Internal nanoparticle structure of temperature-responsive self-assembled PNIPAM-b-PEG-b-PNIPAM triblock copolymers in aqueous solutions: NMR, SANS and Light Scattering studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this