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Introduction to Electrostatics in Soft and Biological Matter

Summary: 1
Introduction to Electrostatics in
Soft and Biological Matter
David Andelman
School of Physics & Astronomy
Raymond & Beverly Faculty of Exact Sciences
Tel Aviv University
Ramat Aviv 69978, Tel Aviv, Israel
Date: Nov 23, 2004
1 Introduction
It is hard to overestimate the importance of electrostatic interactions associated with
charged objects in soft and biological matter. In aqueous environment, typical to many
of these systems, charges tend to dissociate and affect a wealth of functional, structural
and dynamical properties. Without attempting to enumerate an exhaustive list, we men-
tion a few examples. Polymers are flexible and elongated one-dimensional objects (see,
e.g. , chapters by Warren, Podgornik, Mackintosh, Bensimon). In aqueous solutions they
often carry charges, like the naturally occurring DNA or synthetic polyelectrolytes such
as polystyrene sulfonate. The charges on the polymer chain and the counter-ions in solu-
tions have an important effect on the rigidity of such chains and on inter- and intra-chain
interactions leading to interesting phenomena of aggregation and condensation, as is seen


Source: Andelman, David - School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University


Collections: Materials Science; Physics