Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Complex coacervation in polyelectrolytes from a coarse-grained model



Vivek M. Prabhu, Marat Andreev, Jian Qin, Matthew Tirrell, Juan J. de Pablo, Jack F. Douglas


Polyelectrolyte coacervation refers to the formation of distinct liquid phases that arise when polyelectrolytes of opposite charge are mixed under appropriate polymer and salt concentrations. Molecular-level studies of complex polyelectrolyte coacervation have been limited. In this work, a coarse-grained model of the polymers and the corresponding counter-ions is proposed. The model is used to simulate coacervation as a function of polymer length and overall salt concentration. The results of simulations in different ensembles reproduce a number of phenomena observed in experiments, including the destabilization of the coacervate region by increasing ionic strength or by decreasing molecular weight. The results of the model are also shown to compare favorably with experimental measurements of dynamic modulus.
ACS Macro Letters


polyelectrolyte, coacervation, dynamics


Prabhu, V. , Andreev, M. , Qin, J. , Tirrell, M. , de, J. and Douglas, J. (2018), Complex coacervation in polyelectrolytes from a coarse-grained model, ACS Macro Letters, [online], (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created August 22, 2018, Updated February 12, 2020