Kinetics of macroion coagulation induced by multivalent counterions

T. T. Nguyen, B. I. Shklovskii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Due to the strong correlations between multivalent counterions condensed on a macroion, the net macroion charge changes sign at some critical counterion concentration. This effect is known as the charge inversion. Near this critical concentration the macroion net charge is small. Therefore, short range attractive forces between macroions dominate Coulomb repulsion and lead to their coagulation. The kinetics of macroion coagulation in this range of counterion concentrations is studied. We calculate the Coulomb barrier between two approaching like charged macroions at a given counterion concentration. Two different macroion shapes (spherical and rodlike) are considered. A new “self-regulated” regime of coagulation is found. As the size of aggregates increases, their charge and Coulomb barrier also grow and diminish the sticking probability of aggregates. This leads to a slow, logarithmic increase of the aggregate size with time.

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