Nanogels are chemically crosslinked polymeric nanoparticles endowed with high encapsulation ability, tunable size, ease of preparation, and responsiveness to external stimuli. The presence of specific functional groups on their surfaces provides an opportunity to tune their surface properties and direct their behavior. In this work, we used mesoscale modeling to describe conformational and mechanical properties of nanogel surfaces formed by crosslinked polyethylene glycol and polyethyleneimine, and grafted by charged alkylamine brushes of different lengths. Simulations show that both number of chains per area and chain length can be used to tune the properties of the coating. Properly selecting these two parameters allows switching from a hydrated, responsive coating to a dried, highly charged layer. The results also suggest that the scaling behavior of alkylamine brushes, e.g., the transition from a mushroom to semi-dilute brush, is only weakly coupled with the shielding ability of the coating and much more with its compressibility.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited