Stimuli-responsive microgels are a unique class of polymer structures which can undergo a fast response to an external trigger such as light, temperature or pH. It provides a wide potential application spectrum in optical devices, smart surface coatings, emulsion stabilisation etc. The most prominent example of these microgels are poly(N – isopropylacrylamide)(PNIPAM) microgels.
During the last decades PNIPAM-based microgels were widely studied and serve nowadays as model systems for the investigation of the basic properties of microgels and the principles of supported transport of active substances, e.g. drug delivery.
This work focuses on a detailed analysis of PNIPAM microgels in solution and at interfaces with scattering experiments. Neutron and X-ray scattering provide a unique insight into the structure and dynamics of microgels, especially at the interface with grazing incidence small angle neutron scattering and neutron spin-echo spectroscopy (GISANS and GINSES). New aspects of the inner structure and dynamics are gained with improved experimental conditions and data analysis. Simulation of the scattering signal within the Distorted Wave Born Approximation is presented in order to improve the analysis of the GINSES data and to simplify the initial planning and performance of the grazing incidence experiments.
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Dr. Christian Franz