Chain collapse and counterion condensation in dilute polyelectrolyte solutions

N. V. Brilliantov, D. V. Kuznetsov, R. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Citations (SciVal)


A quantitative theory for polyelectrolytes in salt-free dilute solutions is developed. Depending on the electrostatic interaction strength, polyelectrolytes in solutions can undergo strong stretching (with polyelectrolyte dimension Rg∼l1/3B N, where lB is the Bjerrum length and N is the number of the chain segments) or strong compression (with Rg∼l-1/2BN1/3). A strong polymer collapse occurs as a first-order phase transition due to accompanying counterion condensation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1433-1436
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


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