Adsorption of multivalent counterions on the charged surface of a macroion is known to lead to inversion of the macroion charge due to the strong lateral correlations of counterions. We consider a nontrivial role of the excluded volume of counterions on this effect. It is shown analytically that when the bare charge of the macroion increases, its net charge including the adsorbed counterions oscillates with the number of their layers. Charge inversion vanishes every time the top layer of counterions is completely full and becomes incompressible. These oscillations of charge inversion are confirmed by Monte Carlo simulations. Another version of this phenomenon is studied for a metallic electrode screened by multivalent counterions when the potential of the electrode is controlled instead of its charge. In this case, oscillations of the compressibility and charge inversion lead to oscillations of capacitance of this electrode with the number of adsorbed layers of multivalent counterions.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics|
|Issue number||4 I|
|State||Published - Oct 1 2001|