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Nanoscopic structural investigation of physically cross-linked nanogels formed from self-associating polymers

Sekine, Yurina; Endo, Hitoshi*; Iwase, Hiroki*; Takeda, Shigeo*; Mukai, Sadaatsu*; Fukazawa, Hiroshi; Littrell, K. C.*; Sasaki, Yoshihiro*; Akiyoshi, Kazunari*

The detailed structure of a nanogel formed by self-association of cholesterol-bearing pullulans (CHP) was determined by contrast variation small-angle neutron scattering. The decomposition of scattering intensities into partial scattering functions of each CHP nanogel component, i.e., pullulan, cholesterol, and the cross-term between the pullulan and the cholesterol allows us to investigate the internal structure of the nanogel. The effective spherical radius of the skeleton formed by pullulan chains was found to be about 8.1 nm. In the CHP nanogel, there are about 19 cross-linking points where a cross-linking point is formed by aggregation of trimer cholesterol molecules with the spatially inhomogeneous distribution of the mass fractal dimension of 2.6. The average radius of the partial chains can also be determined to be 1.7 nm. As the result, the complex structure of the nanogels is coherently revealed at the nanoscopical level.

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Category:Chemistry, Physical

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