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Polyelectrolytes and their counterions studied by EPR spectroscopy


Hinderberger,  Dariush
MPI for Polymer Research, Max Planck Society;

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Hinderberger, D. (2004). Polyelectrolytes and their counterions studied by EPR spectroscopy. PhD Thesis, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz.

Polyelectrolytes and Their Counterions Studied by EPR Spectroscopy Dariush Hinderberger, Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung, Mainz (2004) In this thesis methods of EPR spectroscopy were used to investigate polyion-counterion interactions in polyelectrolyte solutions. The fact that EPR techniques are local methods is exploited and by employing spin-carrying (i.e., EPR-active) probe ions it is possible to examine polyelectrolytes from the counterions’ point of view. It was possible to gain insight into i) the dynamics and local geometry of counterion attachment, ii) conformations and dynamics of local segments of the polyion in an indirect manner, and iii) the spatial distribution of spin probe ions that surround polyions in solution. Analysis of CW EPR spectra of dianion nitroxide spin probe Fremy’s salt (FS, potassium nitrosodisulfonate) in solutions of cationic PDADMAC polyelectrolyte revealed that FS ions and PDADMAC form transient ion pairs with a lifetime of less than 1 ns. This effect was termed as dynamic electrostatic attachment (DEA). By spectral simulation taking into account the rotational dynamics as a uniaxial Brownian reorientation, also the geometry of the attached state could be characterized. By variation of solvent, the effect of solvent viscosity and permittivity were investigated and indirect information of the polyelectrolyte chain motion was obtained. Furthermore, analysis of CW EPR data also indicates that in mixtures of organic solvent/water PDADMAC chains are preferentially solvated by the organic solvent molecules, while in purely aqueous mixtures the PDADMAC chain segments were found in different conformations depending on the concentration ratio R of FS counterions to PDADMAC repeat units. Broadenings in CW EPR spectra of FS ions were assigned to spin-exchange interaction and hence contain information on the local concentrations and distributions of the counterions. From analysis of these broadenings in terms of a modified cylindrical cell approach of polyelectrolyte theory, radial distribution functions for the FS ions in the different solvents were obtained. This approach breaks down in water above a threshold value of R, which again indicates that PDADMAC chain conformations are altered as a function of R. Double electron-electron resonance (DEER) measurements of FS ions were carried out to probe the distribution of attached counterions along polyelectrolyte chains. For a significant fraction of FS spin probes in solution with a rigid-rod model polyelectrolyte containing charged Ru2+-centers, a bimodal distance distribution was found that nicely reproduced the spacings of direct and nextneighbor Ru2+-centers along the polyelectrolyte: 2.35 and 4.7 nm. For the system of FS/PDADMAC, DEER data could be simulated by assuming a two-state distribution of spin probes, one state corresponding to a homogeneous (3-dimensional) distribution of spin probes in the polyelectrolyte bulk and the other to a linear (1-dimensional) distribution of spin probes that are electrostatically condensed along locally extended PDADMAC chain segments. From this analysis it is suggested that the PDADMAC chains form locally elongated structures of a size of at least ~5 nm.