Screening of a Small Spherical Macroion by Oppositely Charged Flexible Polyelectrolyte

Vu Van Quyen, Vu Thi Hai Yen, Nguyen The Toan


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.


polyelectrolyte, macroion complexation, flexible polymer, electrostatic screening

Full Text:



K. Luger, A. W. M¨ader, R. K. Richmond, D. F. Sargent and T. J. Richmond, Nature 389 (1997) 251–260.

A. Johnson, B. Alberts, D. Bray, J. Lewis, K. Roberts and M. Raff, Molecular biology of the cell, 5th ed. ed.,

Garland Science, 2007.

A. Y. Grosberg, T. T. Nguyen and B. Shklovskii, Rev. Mod. Phys. 74 (2002) 329.

M. G¨otte, X. Li and M. A. Wainberg, Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 365 (1999) 199–210.

Y. Wang, K. Kimura, Q. Huang, P. L. Dubin and W. Jaeger, Macromolecules 32 (1999) 7128–7134.

T. Wallin and P. Linse, Langmuir 12 (1996) 305–314.

H. Boroudjerdi, Y.-W. Kim, A. Naji, R. R. Netz, X. Schlagberger and A. Serr, Physics reports 416 (2005) 129–199.

T. T. Nguyen and B. I. Shklovskii, Physica A 293 (2001) 324.

Park, S. Y., Bruinsma, R. F. and Gelbart, W. M., Europhys. Lett. 46 (1999) 454–460.

Mateescu, E. M., Jeppesen, C. and Pincus, P., Europhys. Lett. 46 (1999) 493–498.

M. P. Allen and D. J. Tildesley, Computer simulation of liquids, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1987.

N. J. Bjerrum, Z. Phys. Chem. (Munich) 119 (2000) 145.

G. S. Manning, J. Chem. Phys. 51 (1969) 924.

H. T. Nga, V. V. Quyen and T. T. Nguyen, Manuscript in preparation (2016) .

DOI: Display counter: Abstract : 173 views. PDF : 51 views.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Editorial Office:

Communications in Physics

1st Floor, A16 Building, 18B Hoang Quoc Viet Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: (+84) 024 3791 7102 


Copyright by