Monday, April 13, 2015

Abstract-Hydration and Hydrogen Bond Network of Water during the Coil-to-Globule Transition in Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) Aqueous Solution at Cloud Point Temperature

J. Phys. Chem. B, Just Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.5b01021
Publication Date (Web): April 12, 2015
Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society

Aqueous solution of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), P-NIPAAm, exhibits a noticeable temperature responsive change in molecular conformation at a cloud point temperature (Tcp). As the temperature rises above Tcp, the extended coil-like P-NIPAAm structure changes into a swollen globule-like conformation as hydration levels decrease and hydrophobic interactions. Though water plays an important role in this coil-to-globule transition of P-NIPAAm, the behavior of water molecules and the associated hydrogen-bond (HB) network of the surrounding bulk water are still veiled in uncertainty. In this study, we elucidated changes in the hydration state and the dynamical structure of the water HB network of P-NIPAAm aqueous solutions, during the coil-to-globule transition, by analyzing the complex dielectric constant in the terahertz (THz) region (0.25~12 THz), where bulk water reorientations and intermolecular vibrations of water can be selectively probed. The structural properties of the water HB network were examined in terms of the population of the non-HB water molecules (not directly engaged in the HB network or hydrated to P-NIPAAm), and the tetrahedral coordination of the water molecules engaged in the HB network. We found the hydration number (≈10) below Tcp was decreased to approximately 6.5 as temperature increased, in line with previous studies. The HB network of bulk water becomes more structured as the coil-to-globule phase transition takes place, via decreases in non-HB water and reduction in the orderliness of the tetrahedral HB architecture. Together these results indicate that the coil-to-globule transition is associated with a shift to hydrophobic dominated interactions that drive thermoresponsive structural changes in the surrounding water molecules.

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