University CrestSterically-Stabilised pH-Responsive MicrogelsArmes Research Group
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Designed by Peter Iddon
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  4 September 2005

In a project sponsored by Rohm and Haas (France), several classes of sterically-stabilised pH-responsive microgel particles have been prepared via emulsion polymerisation. Low Tg film-forming examples based on poly(tertiary amine methacrylates) have already been reported [J. I. Amalvy et al., Langmuir 2005], while current work is focused on high Tg nonfilm-forming poly(2-vinylpyridine)-based microgels. Variation of the synthesis parameters (surfactant concentration, initiator concentration etc.) has allowed a series of six near-monodisperse poly(2-vinylpyridine) microgels with mean diameters ranging from 370 nm to 970 nm to be prepared. The kinetics of swelling and de-swelling of these particles is currently being investigated using stopped-flow apparatus. One objective is to examine whether the Tanaka equation originally developed for macrogels is also valid for microgels. Preliminary results indicate that very rapid swelling rates are observed on time scales of tens of milliseconds and that these rates can be correlated with the initial particle diameter (with larger particles swelling more slowly, as expected). The adsorption of these microgels at the air/water, solid/water and oil/water interface is planned in the near future.

Six near-monodisperse sterically-stabilised pH-responsive poly(2-vinylpyridine) microgels prepared via emulsion polymerisation. The mean diameter for each microgel is stated in the image caption.Note that the same 2 µm scale bar is used for each image.

Six near-monodisperse sterically-stabilised pH-responsive poly(2-vinylpyridine) microgels prepared via emulsion polymerisation. The mean diameter for each microgel is stated in the image caption.
Note that the same 2 µm scale bar is used for each image.

Selected Publications
"Biomimetic deposition of silica templated by a cationic polymaine-containing microgel"
F. Zhou, S. Li, C. D. Vo, J.-J. Yuan, S. Chai, Q. Gao, S. P. Armes, C. Lu, S. Cheng
Langmuir 2007, 23, 9737
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"How does the nature of the steric stabilizer affect the pickering emulsifier performance of lightly cross-linked, acid-swellable poly(2-vinylpyridine) latexes"
D. Dupin, S. P. Armes, C. Connan, P. Reeve, S. M. Baxter
Langmuir 2007, 23, 6903
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"In Situ Observations of Adsorbed Microgel Particles"
P. A. Fitzgerald, D. Dupin, S. P. Armes, E. J. Wanless
Soft Matter 2007, 3, 580
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"Efficient Synthesis of Sterically Stabilized pH-Responsive Microgels of Controllable Particle Diameter by Emulsion Polymerization"
D. Dupin, S. Fujii, S. P. Armes, P. Reeve and S. M. Baxter
Langmuir 2006, 22, 3381
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"Direct Imaging and Spectroscopic Characterization of Stimulus-Responsive Microgels"
S. Fujii, S. P. Armes, T. Araki and H. Ade
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2005, 127, 16808
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"Characterization of the nanomorphology of polymer-silica colloidal nanocomposites using electron spectroscopy imaging"
J. I. Amalvy, M. J. Percy, S. P. Armes, C. A. P. Leite and F. Galembeck
Langmuir 2005, 21, 1175
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