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Salt-induced aggregation of stiff polyelectrolytes

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Golestanian,  Ramin
Department of Living Matter Physics, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Fazli, H., Mohammadinejad, S., & Golestanian, R. (2009). Salt-induced aggregation of stiff polyelectrolytes. Journal of Physics Condensed Matter, 21(42): 424111. doi:10.1088/0953-8984/21/42/424111.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-78D4-9
Abstract
Molecular dynamics simulation techniques are used to study the process of aggregation of highly charged stiff polyelectrolytes due to the presence of multivalent salt. The dominant kinetic mode of aggregation is found to be the case of one end of one polyelectrolyte meeting others at right angles, and the kinetic pathway to bundle formation is found to be similar to that of flocculation dynamics of colloids as described by Smoluchowski. The aggregation process is found to favor the formation of finite bundles of 10-11 filaments at long times. Comparing the distribution of the cluster sizes with the Smoluchowski formula suggests that the energy barrier for the aggregation process is negligible. Also, the formation of long-lived metastable structures with similarities to the raft-like structures of actin filaments is observed within a range of salt concentration. © 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd.