Pulsed field gradient NMR study of phenol binding and exchange in dispersions of hollow polyelectrolyte capsules

Choudhury, Rudra Prosad; Schönhoff, Monika
December 2007
Journal of Chemical Physics;12/21/2007, Vol. 127 Issue 23, p234702
Academic Journal
The distribution and exchange dynamics of phenol molecules in colloidal dispersions of submicron hollow polymeric capsules is investigated by pulsed field gradient NMR (PFG-NMR). The capsules are prepared by layer-by-layer assembly of polyelectrolyte multilayers on silica particles, followed by dissolution of the silica core. In capsule dispersion, 1H PFG echo decays of phenol are single exponentials, implying fast exchange of phenol between a free site and a capsule-bound site. However, apparent diffusion coefficients extracted from the echo decays depend on the diffusion time, which is typically not the case for the fast exchange limit. We attribute this to a particular regime, where apparent diffusion coefficients are observed, which arise from the signal of free phenol only but are influenced by exchange with molecules bound to the capsule, which exhibit a very fast spin relaxation. Indeed, relaxation rates of phenol are strongly enhanced in the presence of capsules, indicating binding to the capsule wall rather than encapsulation in the interior. We present a quantitative analysis in terms of a combined diffusion-relaxation model, where exchange times can be determined from diffusion and spin relaxation experiments even in this particular regime, where the bound site acts as a relaxation sink. The result of the analysis yields exchange times between free phenol and phenol bound to the capsule wall, which are on the order of 30 ms and thus slower than the diffusion controlled limit. From bound and free fractions an adsorption isotherm of phenol to the capsule wall is extracted. The binding mechanism and the exchange mechanism are discussed. The introduction of the global analysis of diffusion as well as relaxation echo decays presented here is of large relevance for adsorption dynamics in colloidal systems or other systems, where the standard diffusion echo decay analysis is complicated by rapidly relaxing boundary conditions.


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