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Influence of Counterion Valency on the Scattering Properties of Highly Charged Polyelectrolyte Solutions



Y B. Zhang, Jack F. Douglas, B D. Ermi, Eric J. Amis


Light and neutron scattering measurements on highly charged polyelectrolyte solutions have recently provided firm evidence for the existence of domain structures containing many chains, even at rather low polymer concentrations. In the present paper, we systematically investigate the influence of counterion charge valency Zc on the scattering properties of sulfonated polystyrene (PSS) solutions in water with monovalent and divalent counterions. This study is part of a larger effort to identify essential factors governing polyelectrolyte domain formation and the geometrical properties of these transient structures. Neutron scattering measurements indicate that the interchain correlation length Ξd within the domains becomes larger by a factor of 1.5-2 for divalent relative to monovalent counterions. This observation is consistent with the Manning model estimate of the change in effective polymer charge density γ* with Zc and with previous observations linking the ξd [from the peak position in scattering intensity I(q)] with the bare polyelectrolyte charge density, γ. Light scattering measurements of the radius of gyration Rg,d of the domains measured from the low-angle scaling of I(q) depends on the chemical structure of the polyelectrolyte. Zero average contrast (ZAC) neutron scattering measurements show that the radius of gyration Rg.c of indivisual polyelectrolyte chains is also reduced for divalent counterions, suggesting that chain rigidity is strongly influenced by γ. Charge valency effects on relaxation times are investigated by dynamic light scattering. As usual, two diffusive modes are observed in the light intensity autocorrelation function, γ (tau}. The fast mode becomes slower and the slow mode becomes faster for the divalent counterion (Mg2_), relative to the monovalent counterion (Na+). Counterion valence has a large influence on the structure and dynamics of highly charged polyelectrolyte solutions through its influence on γ*.
Journal of Chemical Physics
No. 7


counterion condensation, divalent counterions, dynamic light scattering, polyelectrolyte domain, small angle neutron scattering


Zhang, Y. , Douglas, J. , Ermi, B. and Amis, E. (2001), Influence of Counterion Valency on the Scattering Properties of Highly Charged Polyelectrolyte Solutions, Journal of Chemical Physics, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created January 31, 2001, Updated October 12, 2021