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Aggregation phenomena in polyelectrolyte multilayers made from polyelectrolytes bearing bulky functional, hydrophobic fragments

: Laschewsky, A.; Mallwitz, F.; Baussard, J.-F.; Cochin, D.; Fischer, P.; Habib-Jiwan, J.L.; Wischerhoff, E.


Macromolecular symposia 211 (2004), No.1, pp.135-156
ISSN: 0258-0322
ISSN: 1022-1360
Dresden Polymer Discussion <9, 2003, Dresden>
Journal Article, Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IAP ()

The functionalization of polyelectrolyte multilayers often implies the use of bulky functional fragments, attached to a standard polyelectrolyte matrix. Despite of the high density of non-charged, often hydrophobic substituents, regular film growth by sequential adsorption proceeds easily when an appropriate polyelectrolyte counter ion is chosen. However, the functional fragments may cluster or aggregate. This complication is particularly evident when using chromophores and fluorophores as bulky pendant groups. Attention has to be paid to this phenomenon for the design of functional polyelectrolyte films, as aggregation may modify crucially the properties. The use of charged spacer groups does not necessarily suppress the aggregation of functional side groups. Still, clustering and aggregation depend on the detailed system employed, and are not obligatory. In the case of cationic poly(acrylamide)s labeled with naphthalene and pyrene fluorophores, for instance, the polymers form intramolecular hydrophobic associates in solution, as indicated by strong excimer formation. But the polymers can undergo a conformational rearrangement upon adsorption so that they are decoiled in the adsorbed films. Analogous observations are made for polyanions bearing mesogenic biphenyls fragments. In contrast, polycations functionalized with the dye coumarin 343 show little aggregation in solution, but a marked aggregation in the ESA films.