Vol. 26 No. 3 (2016)

Screening of a Small Spherical Macroion by Oppositely Charged Flexible Polyelectrolyte

Vu Thi Hai Yen
Faculty of Physics, VNU University of Science,\\ 334 Nguyen Trai Street Thanh Xuan, Hanoi, Vietnam
Nguyen The Toan
VNU Key Laboratory Multiscale Simulation of Complex Systems, VNU University of Science, 334 Nguyen Trai Street, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi, Vietnam and School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, 837 State Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0430, USA

Published 10-01-2017


  • polyelectrolyte,
  • macroion complexation,
  • flexible polymer,
  • electrostatic screening

How to Cite

Quyen, V. V., Yen, V. T. H., & Toan, N. T. (2017). Screening of a Small Spherical Macroion by Oppositely Charged Flexible Polyelectrolyte. Communications in Physics, 26(3), 287. https://doi.org/10.15625/0868-3166/26/3/8943


Electrostatic interactions play important roles in the assembly, the structureand the functions of many biological as well as soft matter systems. In the presence of a macro-ion in aqueous solution, oppositely charged molecules mobilize around it to screen out its electrostatic potential. In this paper, we focus on screening of small macroion by a flexible polyelectrolyteusing Monte-Carlo simulation. It is shown that the condensation of the polyelectrolyte around the macroion shows a first order phase transition from a dense to a dilute concentration of monomers. The width of the condensed region increases with stronger screening or with smaller macro-ion charges. For small macro-ion charge, or when the Coulomb interactions are strongly screened, no complexation between the polyelectrolyte and the macro-ion happens.Additionally, long polyelectrolyte protrudes both tails and loops from the macroion. This is quite different from the case of large macroions where only tails appear. Our results can be used to explain various experimental trends.


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