Exploration of polymer cononsolvency mechanism through soft X-ray absorption spectroscopy

Researchers have explored the cononsolvency mechanism of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) using oxygen K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). PNIPAM, which dissolves in pure methanol (MeOH) and water but not in their mixture, was studied in aqueous MeOH solutions. The study found that hydrophobic interactions between PNIPAM and MeOH clusters cause PNIPAM to aggregate. These findings enhance understanding of phase transitions in polymers and biomolecules, relevant for applications like protein folding and DNA packing.

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