The pH-induced swelling and collapse of a polybase brush synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization

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  • Mark Geoghegan
  • Lorena Ruiz-Pérez
  • Cheen C. Dang
  • Andrew J. Parnell
  • Simon J. Martin
  • Jonathan R. Howse
  • Richard A.L. Jones
  • Ramin Golestanian
  • Paul D. TophamORCiD:
  • Colin J. Crook
  • Anthony J. Ryan
  • Devinderjit S. Sivia
  • John R.P. Webster
  • Alain Menelle


We have used neutron reflectometry to characterize the swelling behaviour of brushes of poly[2-(diethyl amino)ethyl methacrylate], a polybase, as a function of pH. The brushes, synthesized by the "grafting from" method of atom transfer radical polymerization, were observed to approximately double their thickness in low pH solutions, although the pK is shifted to a lower pH than in dilute solution. The composition-depth profile obtained from the reflectometry experiments for the swollen brushes reveals a region depleted in polymer between the substrate and the extended part of the brush.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1076-1080
Number of pages5
JournalSoft matter
Issue number12
Early online date9 Oct 2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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