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Langmuir ; 38(5): 1725-1737, 2022 Feb 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35081310


We have prepared a series of ampholytic polymer films, using a self-initiated photografting and photopolymerization (SI-PGP) method to sequentially polymerize first anionic (deuterated methacrylic acid (dMAA)) and thereafter cationic (2-aminoethyl methacrylate (AEMA)) monomers to investigate the SI-PGP grafting process. Dry films were investigated by ellipsometry, X-ray, and neutron reflectometry, and their swelling was followed over a pH range from 4.5 to 10.5 with spectroscopic ellipsometry. The deuterated monomer allows us to separate the distributions of the two components by neutron reflectometry. Growth of both polymers proceeds via grafting of solution-polymerized fragments to the surface, and also the second layer is primarily grafted to the substrate and not as a continuation of the existing chains. The polymer films are stratified, with one layer of near 1:1 composition and the other layer enriched in one component and located either above or below the former layer. The ellipsometry results show swelling transitions at low and high pH but with no systematic variation in the pH values where these transitions occur. The results suggest that grafting density in SI-PGP-prepared homopolymers could be increased via repeated polymerization steps, but that this process does not necessarily increase the average chain length.