2021 Impact factor 1.624
Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Eur. Phys. J. E 5, 65-79

Complexation and distribution of counterions in a grafted polyelectrolyte layer

Y. Tran and P. Auroy

Institut Curie, Physico-Chimie Curie (UMR 168 du CNRS) , 11 rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France


(Received 22 August 2000)

The complexation and the distribution of various cations, bound to a poly(styrene sulfonate) brush, have been investigated using infra-red spectroscopy and neutron reflectivity. Small counterions (like tetremethylammonium) are distributed throughout the brush in such a way that a local electroneutrality is ensured. They also exchange readily with other bulk small cations. On the other hand, model polycations are irreversibly trapped to the brush despite a relative small number of ionic bonds involved in the complexation. These complexed polycations are localized at the outer border of the brush, forming a macromolecular barrier. However, this spatial segregation does not allow the buildup of polyelectrolyte multilayers. Cationic surfactants are associated stoichiometrically with the brush sulfonates but unlike small counterions, this complexation is "irreversible"and induces a restructuring of the polymer interface.

68.43.Mn - Adsorption/desorption kinetics.
82.35.Rs - Polyelectrolytes.
61.12.Ha - Neutron reflectometry.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2001