Persistence length of a strongly charged rodlike polyelectrolyte in the presence of salt

Gil Ariel, David Andelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The persistence length of a single, intrinsically rigid polyelectrolyte chain, above the Manning condensation threshold is investigated theoretically in the presence of added salt. Using a loop expansion method, the partition function is consistently calculated, taking into account corrections to mean-field theory. Within a mean-field approximation, the well-known results of Odijk, Skolnick, and Fixman are reproduced. Beyond mean field, it is found that density correlations between counterions and thermal fluctuations reduce the stiffness of the chain, indicating an effective attraction between monomers for highly charged chains and multivalent counterions. This attraction results in a possible mechanical instability (collapse), alluding to the phenomenon of DNA condensation. In addition, we find that more counterions condense on slightly bent conformations of the chain than predicted by the Manning model for the case of an infinite cylinder. Finally, our results are compared with previous models and experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


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