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Investigation of the Relationship between Hydrogen Bonds and Macroscopic Properties in Hybrid Core−Shell γ-Fe2O3−P(NIPAM-AAS) Microgels

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journal contribution
posted on 18.05.2010, 00:00 by J. Rubio-Retama, N. E. Zafeiropoulos, B. Frick, T. Seydel, E. López-Cabarcos
We investigate in a hybrid material the interactions existing between magnetic nanoparticles of γ-Fe2O3 and the polymer matrix constituted by core−shell poly(N-isopropylacrylamide−sodium acrylate) microgels. These interactions provoke the shifting of the microgel volume phase transition to higher temperatures when the amount of γ-Fe2O3 increases. The study was performed using different techniques such as incoherent quasi-elastic neutron scattering (IQNS), infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR), and dynamic light scattering (DLS). Below the low critical solution temperature (LCST) of the polymer, the IQNS data confirm that the presence of inorganic nanoparticles affects the PNIPAM chain motions. Thus, in the swollen state both the mean-square displacement of the polymer segments and the diffusive motion of the polymer chains decrease as the iron oxide content increases. The FTIR-ATR study indicates that the reduction of vibrational and diffusional motions of the polymer chains is due to the formation of hydrogen bonds between the amide groups of the polymer matrix and the OH groups of the magnetic nanoparticles. The creation of this hybrid complex would explain the reduction of the swelling capacity with increasing the iron content in the microgels. Furthermore, this interaction could also explain the shift of the polymer LCST to higher temperatures as due to the extra energy required by the system to break the hydrogen bonds prior to the PNIPAM collapse.