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26.02.2020 | Invited Article | Ausgabe 7/2020 Open Access

Colloid and Polymer Science 7/2020

Contrast variation of micelles composed of Ca2+ and block copolymers of two negatively charged polyelectrolytes

Colloid and Polymer Science > Ausgabe 7/2020
Nico Carl, Sylvain Prévost, Ralf Schweins, Klaus Huber
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00396-019-04596-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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The authors are happy to dedicate this work on small-angle scattering of block copolyelectrolytes to Matthias Ballauff. The block copolyelectrolytes reversibly form micelles in response to interactions with Ca2+ cations. It is a happy coincidence that this work nicely fits into the broader scope of Matthias’ scientific work. This does not come as a surprise though as Matthias’ accomplishments inspired the present as well as some of our other work. Above all, the authors are grateful to him for having introduced them to the power of ASAXS. They wish Matthias Ballauff all the best for his future!


Block copolymers were prepared with two anionic polyelectrolyte blocks: sodium polyacrylate (PA) and sodium polystyrene sulfonate (PSS), in order to investigate their phase behavior in aqueous solution in the presence of Ca2+ cations. Depending on the concentration of polymer and Ca2+ and on the ratio of the block lengths in the copolymer, spherical micelles were observed. Micelle formation arises from the specific interaction of Ca2+ with the PA block only. An extensive small-angle scattering study was performed in order to unravel the structure and dimensions of the block copolymer micelles. Deuteration of the PA block enabled us to perform contrast variation experiments using small-angle neutron scattering at variable ratios of light and heavy water which were combined with information from small-angle X-ray scattering and dynamic light scattering.

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