Formation and stability of smooth thin films with soft microgels made of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and poly(acrylic acid)

Elena Buratti, Ilaria Sanzari, Franco Dinelli, Themistoklis Prodromakis, Monica Bertoldo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this work, soft microgels of Poly(N-Isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm) at two different sizes and of interpenetrated polymer network (IPN) composed of PNIPAm and Poly(Acrylic Acid) (PAAc) were synthesized. Then, solutions of these different types of microgels have been spin-coated on glass substrates with different degrees of hydrophobicity. PNIPAm particles with a larger diameter form either patches or a continuous layer, where individual particles are still distinct, depending on the dispersion concentration and spin speed. On the other, PNIPAm particles with a smaller diameter and IPN particles form a continuous and smooth film, with a thickness depending on the dispersion concentration and spin-speed. The difference in morphology observed can be explained if one considers that the microgels may behave as colloidal particles or macromolecules, depending on their size and composition. Additionally, the microgel size and composition can also affect the stability of the depositions when rinsed in water. In particular, we find that the smooth and continuous films show a stimuli-dependent stability on parameters such as temperature and pH, while large particle layers are stable under any condition except on hydrophilic glass by washing at 50C.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2638
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPolymers
Volume12
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • IPN
  • Microgels
  • PAAc
  • PNIPAm
  • Spin-coating
  • Thin films

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