Single molecule investigation of complexes of oppositely charged bottle brushes
We experimentally investigated complexation of oppositely charged bottle polymer brushes at the single-molecule level using AFM and CryoTEM. It was found that polyelectrolyte complexes have “scrambled-egg” morphology where oppositely charged polymer chains are not oriented parallel to each other but are intercrossed. Moreover, we observed that in CryoTEM polymer chains in IPEC appear brighter compared to the background that is in contrast to darker polymer chains of the individual components. We believe that the reason for this effect is the release of counter ions of the polymer brushes due to the neutralisation of the charged side groups of the polymer chains.