Volume 116, Number 1, October 2016
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology|
|Published online||22 November 2016|
Bending stiff charged polymers: The electrostatic persistence length
1 LPTMS, CNRS, Univ. Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay - 91405 Orsay, France
2 Department of Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Tennessee - Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
Received: 22 July 2016
Accepted: 28 October 2016
Many charged polymers, including nucleic acids, are locally stiff. Their bending rigidity —quantified by the persistence length— depends crucially on Coulombic features, such as the ionic strength of the solution which offers a convenient experimental route for tuning the rigidity. While the classic Odijk-Skolnick-Fixman treatment fails for realistic parameter values, we derive a simple analytical formula for the electrostatic persistence length. It is shown to be in remarkable agreement with numerically obtained Poisson-Boltzmann theory results, thereby fully accounting for non-linearities, among which counter-ion condensation effects. Specified to double-stranded DNA, our work reveals that the widely used bare persistence length of 500 Å is overestimated by some 20%.
PACS: 82.35.Lr – Physical properties of polymers / 82.35.Rs – Polyelectrolytes / 87.15.-v – Biomolecules: structure and physical properties
© EPLA, 2016
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