Salt-induced swelling-to-shrinking transition in polyelectrolyte multilayer capsules

Karen Köhler, P. Maarten Biesheuvel, Richard Weinkamer, Helmuth Möhwald, Gleb B. Sukhorukov

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66 Citations (Scopus)


We study the size of polyelectrolyte multilayer capsules as a function of ionic strength, temperature, and time. A dynamic micromechanical model is developed which successfully describes the experiments. The model includes the polymer-solvent surface tension, an electrostatic force which is strongly ionic strength dependent, and a temperature-dependent mobility parameter. The activation of >50kT suggests that multiple ion pairs must be broken simultaneously in the process of chain rearrangement. In support of our physical model capsules can repeatedly swell and shrink by varying ionic strength.

Original languageEnglish
Article number188301
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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