This title appears in the Scientific Report : 2019 

Deswelling of Microgels in Crowded Suspensions Depends on Cross-Link Density and Architecture
Scotti, Andrea (Corresponding author)
Denton, Alan R. / Brugnoni, Monia / Houston, Judith E. / Schweins, Ralf / Potemkin, Igor I. / Richtering, Walter (Corresponding author)
Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum; MLZ
JCNS-FRM-II; JCNS-FRM-II
Macromolecules, 52 (2019) 11, S. 3995 - 4007
Washington, DC Soc. 2019
10.1021/acs.macromol.9b00729
Journal Article
FRM II / MLZ
Jülich Centre for Neutron Research (JCNS)
OpenAccess
OpenAccess
Please use the identifier: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.macromol.9b00729 in citations.
Please use the identifier: http://hdl.handle.net/2128/25182 in citations.
Microgels are nanometer-to-micrometer-sized cross-linked polymer networks that swell when dispersed in a good solvent. These soft colloids have emerged as versatile building blocks of smart materials, which are distinguished by their unique ability to adapt their behavior to changes in external stimuli. Using X-ray and neutron scattering and molecular simulation methods, we systematically measured and modeled the response to crowding of compressible, deformable microgels with varying cross-link densities and internal architectures. Our experiments and simulations demonstrate that incorporating a solvent-filled cavity during chemical synthesis provides an independent means of controlling microgel swelling that complements the influence of changing cross-link density. In other words, knowledge of the content of cross-links alone cannot be used to define microgel softness, but microgel architecture is another key property that affects softness. These results are potentially important for biomedical applications, such as drug delivery and biosensing.