Volume 83, Number 4, August 2008
Article Number 48002
Number of page(s) 5
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 08 August 2008
EPL, 83 (2008) 48002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/83/48002

Suppression of aggregation in natural-semiflexible/flexible polyanion mixtures, and direct check of the OSF model using SANS

F. Bonnet1, R. Schweins1, F. Boué2 and E. Buhler3

1  Institut Laue Langevin, Large Scale Structures Group - 6 rue Jules Horowitz, BP 156, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France, EU
2  Laboratoire Léon Brillouin, CEA-CNRS, CE Saclay - 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France, EU
3  Laboratoire Matière et Systèmes Complexes (MSC), UMR CNRS 7057, Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7 Bâtiment Condorcet, CC 7056, 75205 Paris Cedex 13, France, EU

received 21 April 2008; accepted in final form 26 June 2008; published August 2008
published online 8 August 2008

Aggregation and other interactions are suppressed for a biological semiflexible polyelectrolyte, hyaluronan (HA), when it is embedded in a mixture with another negatively charged and flexible polyelectrolyte chain, sodium polystyrene sulfonate. We see directly HA only in the mixture using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), isotopic labelling and contrast matching. At low ionic strength, for which aggregation is usually seen for pure HA solutions, an unambiguous set of experimental results shows that we neither observe HA aggregation nor a polyelectrolyte peak (observed for solutions of single species); instead we observe a wormlike-chain behaviour characteristic of single chain with a variation of the persistence length with the square of the Debye screening length, $L_{{\rm e}}\sim \kappa ^{-2}$, as formerly predicted by Odijk and not yet observed on a polymer chain.

82.35.Rs - Polyelectrolytes.
61.05.fg - Neutron scattering (including small-angle scattering).
87.15.-v - Biomolecules: structure and physical properties.

© EPLA 2008