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Abstract: We investigate the behavior of single polyelectrolytes in multivalent saltsolutions under the action of electric fields through computer simulations. Thechain is unfolded in a strong electric field and aligned parallel to the fielddirection, and the chain size shows a sigmoidal transition. The unfoldingelectric field $E^*$ depends on the salt concentration and scales as $V^{-1-2}$with $V$ being the ellipsoidal volume occupied by the chain. The magnitude ofthe electrophoretic mobility of chain drastically increases during theunfolding. The fact that $E^*$ depends on the chain length provides a plausiblemechanism to separate long charged homopolymers by size in free solutionelectrophoresis via the unfolding transition of globule polyelectrolytescondensed by multivalent salt.



Author: Pai-Yi Hsiao, Kun-Mao Wu

Source: https://arxiv.org/



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