Polyelectrolyte brushes are polyelectrolyte polymers with one end fixed to a substrate. In this study, direct nano-scale visualization of polyelectrolyte brushes was carried out under 'aqueous conditions' by atmospheric scanning electron microscopy. The thickness of the polyelectrolyte brush layer was measured under both dry and aqueous conditions, experimentally confirming the swollen state of the brushes. These experimental findings qualitatively agreed with the results from previous neutron reflectivity experiments using similar polyelectrolyte brushes. Such direct visualization of polymer brushes in real space opens up a new route for better understanding their surface properties, such as friction, adhesion and wettability.
- Atmospheric scanning electron microscopy
- Polymer brush
- Polymer interface
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging