Faculté des sciences et de médecine

Pathways and challenges towards a complete characterization of microgels

Scheffold, Frank

In: Nature Communications, 2020, vol. 11, no. 1, p. 4315

Due to their controlled size, sensitivity to external stimuli, and ease-of-use, microgel colloids are unique building blocks for soft materials made by crosslinking polymers on the micrometer scale. Despite the plethora of work published, many questions about their internal structure, interactions, and phase behavior are still open. The reasons for this lack of understanding are the... More

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    Summary
    Due to their controlled size, sensitivity to external stimuli, and ease-of-use, microgel colloids are unique building blocks for soft materials made by crosslinking polymers on the micrometer scale. Despite the plethora of work published, many questions about their internal structure, interactions, and phase behavior are still open. The reasons for this lack of understanding are the challenges arising from the small size of the microgel particles, complex pairwise interactions, and their solvent permeability. Here we describe pathways toward a complete understanding of microgel colloids based on recent experimental advances in nanoscale characterization, such as super- resolution microscopy, scattering methods, and modeling.