Formation and Growth of Mesoglobules in Aqueous Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) Solutions Revealed with Kinetic Small-Angle Neutron Scattering and Fast Pressure Jumps

Bart Jan Niebuur, Leonardo Chiappisi, Xiaohan Zhang, Florian Jung, Alfons Schulte, Christine M. Papadakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The phase transition from swollen chains to polymer mesoglobules of an aqueous solution of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) is investigated with kinetic small-angle neutron scattering with 50 ms time resolution in conjunction with millisecond pressure jumps across the coexistence line. The time-resolved study evidenced three distinct regimes: fractal clusters form during the first second and transform into compact mesoglobules. During the following ∼20 s, these grow by diffusion-limited coalescence. The final step consists of a slow growth characterized by an energy barrier of several kBT. The method opens opportunities for kinetic structural studies of multicomponent systems over wide length and time scales and gives a structural picture spanning from the chain collapse to mesoscopic phase separation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1160
Number of pages6
JournalACS Macro Letters
Volume7
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2018

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