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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2011 Oct 28;13(40):18200-7. doi: 10.1039/c1cp21609k. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Influence of the percentage of acetylation on the assembly of LbL multilayers of poly(acrylic acid) and chitosan.

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  • 1Departamento de Química Física I, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040-Madrid, Spain.


The Layer-by-Layer (LbL) self-assembly of polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) formed by poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) and chitosan (CHI) of two different percentages of acetylation (AC) has been studied by dissipative quartz crystal microbalance (D-QCM) and ellipsometry. The results point out that the non-linear growth (exponential growth) of the films is not modified by the percentage of acetylation of the CHI (AC). The comparison of the thickness obtained by D-QCM and by ellipsometry has allowed us to calculate the water content of the films showing that the multilayers are highly hydrated. This agrees with the values of the complex shear modulus obtained from the analysis of D-QCM data that are in the MPa range, and show a transition from a viscous to mainly elastic behavior depending on the charge density of the CHI chains. The monomer surface density in each layer (obtained from the combination of ellipsometry and differential refractive index measurements) indicated that the mechanism of charge compensation depends on the percentage of acetylation of the CHI. It was found that the adsorption kinetics is a bimodal process with characteristic times that depend on the number and nature of each layer. The load capacity of the multilayers for a β-blocker, propranolol, was found to be higher for the lowest acetylation degree.

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