Wigner crystal model of counterion induced bundle formation of rodlike polyelectrolytes

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Abstract

A simple electrostatic theory of condensation of rodlike polyelectrolytes under influence of polyvalent counterions is proposed. It is based on the idea that counterions form a Wigner crystal on a background of a bundle of rods. It is shown that, depending on a single dimensionless parameter, this can be a densely packed three-dimensional Wigner crystal or a two-dimensional crystal on the rod surfaces. For DNA the location of charge on the spiral results in a model of the one-dimensional Wigner crystal. It is also argued that the Wigner crystal idea can be applied to self-assembly of other polyelectrolytes, for example, colloids and DNA-lipid complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3268-3271
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume82
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

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