Length scale heterogeneity in lateral gradients of poly(N- isopropylacrylamide) polymer brushes prepared by surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization coupled with in-plane electrochemical potential gradients

Xuejun Wang, Huilin Tu, Paul V. Braun, Paul W. Bohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We report the preparation and characterization of poly(N- isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) polymer brushes exhibiting controlled lateral variations in the patchiness of polymer chains. These gradients were achieved through an atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) grafting-from approach utilizing surfaces on which the spatial profile of the initiator density was carefully controlled. Initiator density gradients were formed on Au by first preparing a hexadecanethiol (HDT) density gradient, by reductive desorption using a laterally anisotropic electrochemical gradient. The bare areas in the original HDT gradient were then back-filled with a disulfide initiator, (BrC(CH 3) 2COO(CH 2) 11S) 2. The initiator coverage was characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Then, surface-initiated ATRP was utilized to transfer the initiator density gradient into gradients of PNIPAAm chain density. Ellipsometry, surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to characterize these PNIPAAm density gradients. The defining characteristic of the PNIPAAm gradients is the evolution of the morphology from discontinuous mushroom structures at extremely low grafting densities to heterogeneous patchy structures at intermediate grafting densities. The size of the patchy domains gradually increases, until at a high grafting density region, the morphology evolves to a smoother, presumably more extended, structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-823
Number of pages7
JournalLangmuir
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 17 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry

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