CO2- and O2-Sensitive Fluorophenyl End-Capped Poly(ethylene glycol)



Pentafluorophenyl end-capped poly(ethylene glycol) (PF-PEG-PF) aqueous solution shows a lower critical solution temperature (LCST), which is sensitive to the type of gases dissolved in the solution. LCST increases from 24.5 to 26 °C when dissolved carbon dioxide is replaced by oxygen. The transparent-to-turbid transition is reversibly observed when the dissolved carbon dioxide in the PF-PEG-PF aqueous solution is exchanged with oxygen, and vice versa, at 24.5 °C. 19F NMR and 1H NMR spectra of the PF-PEG-PF in D2O suggest that 1) dehydration of PEG is the main reason of developing LCST of the PF-PEG-PF aqueous solution, 2) minute differences in the intermolecular interactions, as demonstrated by changes in the chemical shift of the PF-PEG-PF peaks, induce such a difference in LCST. This paper provides a new insight in designing a stimuli-responsive polymer in that fine tuning of a phase transition can be controlled by the type of dissolved gas.