Evaluation of the counterion condensation theory of polyelectrolytes

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We compare free energies of counterion distributions in polyelectrolyte solutions predicted from the cylindrical Poisson-Boltzmann (PB) model and from the counterion condensation theories of Manning: CC1 (Manning, 1969a, b), which assumes an infinitely thin region of condensed counterions, and CC2 (Manning, 1977), which assumes a region of finite thickness. We consider rods of finite radius with the linear charge density of B-DNA in 1–1 valent and 2–2 valent salt solutions. We find that under all conditions considered here the free energy of the CC1 and the CC2 models is higher than that of the PB model. We argue that counterion condensation theory imposes nonphysical constraints and is, therefore, a poorer approximation to the underlying physics based on continuum dielectrics, point-charge small ions, Poisson electrostatics, and Boltzmann distributions. The errors in counterion condensation theory diminish with increasing distance from, or radius of, the polyion. © 1995, The Biophysical Society. All rights reserved.




Stigter, D. (1995). Evaluation of the counterion condensation theory of polyelectrolytes. Biophysical Journal, 69(2), 380–388. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3495(95)79910-6

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