The recently developed Molecular Theory of Weak Polyelectrolyte Gels was extended to include hydrogel films in this Hot Paper. The theory was used to study the behaviour of a weak polyelectrolyte gel constrained by a surface, to understand the structure and properties and how they differ when the gel is in contact with a water solution as compared to a hard wall. This information is important as thin hydrogel films are excellent candidates for the development of micro- and nano-sized applications requiring fast and stable stimuli-responsive materials.
Molecular theory of weak polyelectrolyte thin films
Gabriel S. Longo, Monica Olvera de la Cruz and I. Szleifer
Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 1344-1354