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ACS applied materials & interfaces

Thermally programmable pH buffers.


PMID 23130670

Abstract

Many reactions in both chemistry and biology rely on the ability to precisely control and fix the solution concentrations of either protons or hydroxide ions. In this report, we describe the behavior of thermally programmable pH buffer systems based on the copolymerization of varying amounts of acrylic acid (AA) groups into N-isopropylacrylamide polymers. Because the copolymers undergo phase transitions upon heating and cooling, the local environment around the AA groups can be reversibly switched between hydrophobic and hydrophilic states affecting the ionization behavior of the acids. Results show that moderate temperature variations can be used to change the solution pH by two units. However, results also indicate that the nature of the transition and its impact on the pH values are highly dependent on the AA content and the degree of neutralization.

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