Size, flexibility, and scattering functions of semiflexible polyelectrolytes with excluded volume effects: Monte Carlo simulations and neutron scattering experiments

L. Cannavacciuolo, C. Sommer, J.S. Pedersen, P. Schurtenberger

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    We present a systematic Monte Carlo study of the scattering function S(q) of semiflexible polyelectrolytes at infinite dilution, in solutions with different concentrations of added salt. In the spirit of a theoretical description of polyelectrolytes in terms of the equivalent parameters, namely, persistence length and excluded volume interactions, we used a modified wormlike chain model, in which the monomers are represented by charged hard spheres placed at distance a. The electrostatic interactions are approximated by a Debye-Huckel potential. We show that the scattering function is quantitatively described by that of uncharged wormlike chains with excluded volume effects provided that an electrostatic contribution is added to the persistence length. In addition we have studied the expansion of the radius of gyration and of the end-to-end distance. The results are in agreement with the picture outlined in the Odijk-Skolnick-Fixman theory, in which the behavior of charged polymers is described only in terms of increasing local rigidity and excluded volume effects. Moreover, the Monte Carlo data are found to be in very good agreement with experimental scattering measurements with equilibrium polyelectrolytes, i.e., giant wormlike micelles formed in mixtures of nonionic and ionic surfactants in dilute aqueous solution, with added salt.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPhysical Review E
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)5409-5419
    Publication statusPublished - 2000

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