Behavior of Temperature-Sensitive PNIPAM Confined in Polyelectrolyte Capsules


  • PNIPAM=Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide).


Layer-by-layer assembled polyelectrolyte microcapsules are of great interest because they can possibly be used as microcontainers and they show interesting stimuli-responsive properties, which have been recently investigated. Here, we exploit capsules which are made temperature-sensitive by encapsulating poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM). PNIPAM has a cloud point in water at about 32 °C, above which it collapses and is insoluble in water. Further this temperature responsiveness can be tuned by addition of various ions at various concentrations. Here, we present the encapsulation of PNIPAM inside polyelectrolyte microcapsules, and describe the dependence of the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) on the nature and the amount of different salts added. With this information, we demonstrate the ability to tune and finely control the collapse of encapsulated PNIPAM. In this light, this system could be used as a microsensor or drug- delivery system.