Solvent quality influence on the dielectric properties of polyelectrolyte solutions: A scaling approach

F. Bordi, C. Cametti, T. Gili, S. Sennato, S. Zuzzi, S. Dou, R. H. Colby

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The dielectric properties of polyelectrolytes in solvent of different quality have been measured in an extended frequency range and the dielectric parameters associated with the polarization induced by counterion fluctuation over some peculiar polyion lengths have been evaluated. Following the scaling theory of polyelectrolyte solutions and the recent models developed by Dobrynin and Rubinstein that explicitly take into account the quality of the solvent on the polyion chain conformation, we have reviewed and summarized a set of scaling laws that describe the dielectric behavior of these systems in the dilute and semidilute regime. Moreover, for poorer solvents, where theory of hydrophobic polyelectrolytes predicts, and computer simulation confirms, a particular chain structure consisting of partially collapsed monomers (beads) connected by monomer strings, we derived a scaling law. These predictions are compared with the results obtained from the dielectric parameters (the dielectric increment Δ and the relaxation time τion) of the "intermediate" frequency relaxation of two partially charged polymers, which possess a carbon-based backbone for which water is a poor solvent and ethylene glycol is a good solvent. By varying the solvent composition (a water-ethylene glycol mixture), we have tuned the quality of the solvent, passing from poor to good condition and have observed the predicted scaling for all the systems investigated. These findings give a further support to the scaling theory of polyelectrolyte solutions and to the necklace model for hydrophobic polyelectrolytes in poor solvents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031806
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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