N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPA) homopolymers having carboxylic acid-end groups were synthesized by using mercaptoacetic acid (MAA) as the chain transfer agent. Polymerization was achieved in ethanol using azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN) as the initiator. Average molecular weight of the homopolymer estimated by titration was 1958. This carboxylic acid-ended poly(NIPA) was then copolymerized with polyethylenimine (PEI, M-W-2000) using a water soluble carbodiimide (EDAC). With respect to carboxyl-ended poly(NIPA), the block copolymers exhibited a pH dependent-temperature sensitivity and higher LCST values in acidic pH. Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) images of both the homopolymer and the copolymer were obtained at 25 and 45degreesC with tip-sample bias voltages of up to 800 mV and tunneling currents similar to1 nA. These images showed that STM can be used to visualize both the formation of copolymer chains and their structure, and also their stimuli-responsive behavior. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).