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In detail, when the pH was below 7.3, the pKa of DMAEMA, tertiary amino groups were protonated, the polymer micellar solution like weak gel changed into free-standing gel at around 40 C even at a low concentration of 2 wt%. Further, the gel behavior and morphology of the system were studied by rheology, turbidimetry measurements, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), respectively. When the pH was above the pKa, the triblock copolymer selfassembled into diverse micellar structures including shell–core, corona–shell–core and shell–shell–core nanoparticles as the temperature increased, but no free-standing gelation. The two-step thermoresponsive behavior, corresponding to the different LCSTs of PNIPAM block and DMAEMA block, was evidenced by turbidity analysis. The assembled structures rapidly collapsed due to the enhanced hydrophobic interaction when the temperature further increased. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) was used to confirm the transitions
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