Controlling Internal Organization of Multilayer Poly(methacrylic acid) Hydrogels with Polymer Molecular Weight

Academic Article


  • © 2015 American Chemical Society. We report on tailoring the internal architecture of multilayer-derived poly(methacrylic acid) (PMAA) hydrogels by controlling the molecular weight of poly(N-vinylpyrrolidone) (PVPON) in hydrogen-bonded (PMAA/PVPON) layer-by-layer precursor films. The hydrogels are produced by cross-linking PMAA in the spin-assisted multilayers followed by PVPON release. We found that the thickness, morphology, and architecture of hydrogen-bonded films and the corresponding hydrogels are significantly affected by PVPON chain length. For all systems, an increase in PVPON molecular weight from Mw = 2.5 to 1300 kDa resulted in increased total film thickness. We also show that increasing polymer Mw smooths the hydrogen-bonded film surfaces but roughens those of the hydrogels. Using deuterated dPMAA marker layers in neutron reflectometry measurements, we found that hydrogen-bonded films reveal a high degree of stratification which is preserved in the cross-linked films. We observed dPMAA to be distributed more widely in the hydrogen-bonded films prepared with small Mw PVPON due to the greater mobility of short-chain PVPON. These variations in the distribution of PMAA are erased after cross-linking, resulting in a distribution of dPMAA over about two bilayers for all Mw but being somewhat more widely distributed in the films templated with higher Mw PVPON. Our results yield new insights into controlling the organization of nanostructured polymer networks using polymer molecular weight and open opportunities for fabrication of thin films with well-organized architecture and controllable function.
  • Published In

  • Macromolecules  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kozlovskaya V; Zavgorodnya O; Ankner JF; Kharlampieva E
  • Start Page

  • 8585
  • End Page

  • 8593
  • Volume

  • 48
  • Issue

  • 23