Europhys. Lett.
Volume 68, Number 4, November 2004
Page(s) 494 - 500
Section Electromagnetism, optics, acoustics, heat transfer, classical mechanics, and fluid dynamics
Published online 27 October 2004
Europhys. Lett., 68 (4), pp. 494-500 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10250-2

Interaction between macroions mediated by divalent rod-like ions

K. Bohinc1, 2, A. Iglic1 and S. May3

1  Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Trzaska 25, University of Ljubljana 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2  University College for Health Care, Poljanska 26a, University of Ljubljana 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
3  Research Group "Lipid Membranes", Friedrich-Schiller University Neugasse. 25, Jena 07743, Germany

received 22 July 2004; accepted in final form 28 September 2004
published online 27 October 2004

Attractive interactions between identical like-charged macroions in aqueous multivalent salt solution arise due to ion-ion correlations. The mean-field level Poisson-Boltzmann (PB) theory does not predict such behavior for point-like structureless ions. Various multivalent ions, such as certain DNA condensing agents or short stiff polyelectrolytes, do have an internal, often rod-like, structure. Applying PB theory to the generic case of divalent rod-like salt ions, we find attraction between like-charged macroions above a critical distance between the two individual charges of the rod-like ions. We calculate this distance analytically within linearized PB theory. Numerical results for the non-linear PB theory indicate strong enhancement of the tendency to mediate attractive interactions.

41.20.Cv - Electrostatics; Poisson and Laplace equations, boundary-value problems.
87.68.+z - Biomaterials and biological interfaces.

© EDP Sciences 2004