Non-monotonic swelling of a macroion due to correlation-induced charge inversion

Brian Skinner, B. I. Shklovskii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


It is known that a large, charged body immersed in a solution of multivalent counterions may undergo charge inversion as the counterions adsorb to its surface. We use the theory of charge inversion to examine the case of a deformable, porous macroion which may adsorb multivalent ions into its bulk to form a three-dimensional strongly-correlated liquid. This adsorption may lead to non-monotonic changes in the size of the macroion as multivalent ions are added to the solution. The macroion first shrinks as its bare charge is screened and then reswells as the adsorbed ions invert the sign of the net charge. We derive a value for the outward pressure experienced by such a macroion as a function of the ion concentration in solution. We find that for small deviations in the concentration of multivalent ions away from the neutral point (where the net charge of the body is zero), the swollen size grows parabolically with the logarithm of the ratio of multivalent ion concentration to the concentration at the neutral point.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Charge inversion
  • DNA
  • Polymer electrolytes
  • Swelling


Dive into the research topics of 'Non-monotonic swelling of a macroion due to correlation-induced charge inversion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this