TY - JOUR

T1 - Phase diagram of aggregation of oppositely charged colloids in salty water

AU - Zhang, R.

AU - Shklovskii, B. I.

N1 - Copyright:
Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

PY - 2004/2

Y1 - 2004/2

N2 - Aggregation of two oppositely charged colloids in salty water is studied. We focus on the role of Coulomb interaction in strongly asymmetric systems in which the charge and size of one colloid is much larger than the other one. In the solution, each large colloid (macroion) attracts a certain number of oppositely charged small colloids (Z-ion) to form a complex. If the concentration ratio of the two colloids is such that complexes are not strongly charged, they condense in a macroscopic aggregate. As a result, the phase diagram in a plane of concentrations of two colloids consists of an aggregation domain sandwiched between two domains of stable solutions of complexes. The aggregation domain has a central part of total aggregation and two wings corresponding to partial aggregation. A quantitative theory of the phase diagram in the presence of monovalent salt is developed. It is shown that as the Debye-Hückel screening radius r(s) decreases, the aggregation domain grows, but the relative size of the partial aggregation domains becomes much smaller. As an important application of the theory, we consider solutions of long double-helix DNA with strongly charged positive spheres (artificial chromatin). We also consider implications of our theory for in vitro experiments with the natural chromatin. Finally, the effect of different shapes of macroions on the phase diagram is discussed.

AB - Aggregation of two oppositely charged colloids in salty water is studied. We focus on the role of Coulomb interaction in strongly asymmetric systems in which the charge and size of one colloid is much larger than the other one. In the solution, each large colloid (macroion) attracts a certain number of oppositely charged small colloids (Z-ion) to form a complex. If the concentration ratio of the two colloids is such that complexes are not strongly charged, they condense in a macroscopic aggregate. As a result, the phase diagram in a plane of concentrations of two colloids consists of an aggregation domain sandwiched between two domains of stable solutions of complexes. The aggregation domain has a central part of total aggregation and two wings corresponding to partial aggregation. A quantitative theory of the phase diagram in the presence of monovalent salt is developed. It is shown that as the Debye-Hückel screening radius r(s) decreases, the aggregation domain grows, but the relative size of the partial aggregation domains becomes much smaller. As an important application of the theory, we consider solutions of long double-helix DNA with strongly charged positive spheres (artificial chromatin). We also consider implications of our theory for in vitro experiments with the natural chromatin. Finally, the effect of different shapes of macroions on the phase diagram is discussed.

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U2 - 10.1103/PhysRevE.69.021909

DO - 10.1103/PhysRevE.69.021909

M3 - Article

C2 - 14995493

AN - SCOPUS:42749101527

VL - 69

SP - 21909

JO - Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics

JF - Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics

SN - 1539-3755

IS - 2 1

M1 - 021909

ER -