Deswelling behaviour of ionic microgel particles from low to ultra-high densities†
The swelling of ionic microgel particles is investigated at a wide range of concentrations using a combination of light, X-ray and neutron scattering techniques. We employ a zero-average contrast approach for small-angle neutron scattering experiments, which enables a direct determination of the form factor at high concentrations. The observed particle size initially decreases strongly with the particle concentration in the dilute regime but approaches a constant value at intermediate concentrations. This is followed by a further deswelling at high concentrations above particle overlap. Theory and experiments point at a pivotal contribution of dangling polymer ends to the strong variation in size of ionic microgels, which presents itself mainly through the hydrodynamics properties of the system.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Electrostatics and Soft Matter