Europhys. Lett.
Volume 68, Number 1, October 2004
Page(s) 113 - 119
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 01 September 2004
Europhys. Lett., 68 (1), pp. 113-119 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10171-0

Counterion-mediated intra-chain phase segregation on a single semiflexible polyelectrolyte chain

T. Iwaki and K. Yoshikawa

Department of Physics, Kyoto University and CREST - Kyoto 6068502, Japan

received 15 March 2004; accepted in final form 3 August 2004

The intra-chain phase segregation of coil and globule states was recently found in a single polyelectrolyte. In past literatures, Rayleigh instability upon a charged condensation has been adopted to explain this phenomenon, under the framework of no salt. We considered here the model of a single semiflexible polyelectrolyte such as DNA in a salt solution, and found that the explanation based on Rayleigh instability is inadequate. Instead, this segregation is induced by the instability associated with the translational entropy of counterions. The stability of a segregated chain is enhanced at a lower salt concentration or at a higher temperature. The expected temperature dependence is opposite to that caused by Rayleigh instability.

82.35.Rs - Polyelectrolytes.
05.70.Fh - Phase transitions: general studies.

© EDP Sciences 2004