Effect of alkyl chain spacer length between the charged groups (CSL) in zwitterionic poly(sulfobetaine) (PSB) brushes on the hydration state was investigated. PSB brushes with ethyl (PMAES), propyl (PMAPS), or butyl (PMABS) CSL were prepared by surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization on silicon wafers. Hydration states of the PSB brushes in aqueous solutions and/or humid vapor were investigated by contact angle measurement, infrared spectroscopy, AFM observation, and neutron reflectivity. The PSB brushes are swollen in humid air and deionized water due to the hydration of the charged groups leading to the reduction of hydrated PSB brushes/water interfacial free energy. The hydrated PSB brushes exhibit clear interface with low interfacial roughness due to networking of the PSB brush chains through association of the SBs. The hydrated PSB brushes produce diffusive swollen layer in the presence of NaCl because of the charge screening followed by SB dissociation by the bound ions. The ionic strength sensitivity in the hydration got more significant with increasing the CSL in SBs because of the augmentation in partial charge by charged group separation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces