Thin polymer films are important in many areas of biomaterials research, biomedical devices, and biological sensors. The accurate <i>in situ</i> measurement of multiple physicochemical properties of thin polymer films is critical in understanding biocompatibility, polymer function, and performance. In this work we demonstrate a facile spectroscopic methodology for accurately measuring the micro-polarity and hydrogen-bond donor/acceptor ability for a series of relatively hydrophilic thermoresponsive copolymers. The micro-polarity of the <i>N</i>-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) and <i>N</i>-tert-butylacrylamide (NtBA) co-polymers was evaluated by means of the <i>E</i><sub>T</sub>(30), α, β, and π* empirical solvatochromic polarity parameters. The data shows that increasing the NtBA fraction in the dry copolymer film reduces polarity and hydrogen-bonding ability. Within the Kamlet–Taft polarity framework, the NIPAM/NtBA copolymer films are strong hydrogen-bond acceptors, strongly dipolar/polarizable, and rather moderate hydrogen-bond donors. This characterization provides a more comprehensive physicochemical description of polymers, which aids the interpretation of film performance. Comparison of the measured <i>E</i><sub>T</sub>(30) values with literature data for other water-soluble polymers show that dry NIPAM/NtBA copolymers are slightly more polar than poly(ethylene oxide), less polar than polyvinylalcohol, and approximately the same polarity as poly(<i>N</i>-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone). These findings indicate that this spectroscopic method is a facile, rapid, and nondestructive methodology for measuring polymer properties <i>in situ</i>, suitable for most biomaterials research laboratories.

PDF Article

Cited By

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Cited by links are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
Login to access OSA Member Subscription