Collapse of stiff polyelectrolytes due to counterion fluctuations

Ramin Golestanian*, Mehran Kardar, Tanniemola B. Liverpool

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


The effective elasticity of highly charged stiff polyelectrolytes is studied in the presence of counterions, with and without added salt. The rigid polymer conformations may become unstable due to an effective attraction induced by counterion density fluctuations. Instabilities at the longest (intermediate) length scales may signal a collapse to globule (necklace) states, respectively. In the presence of added salt, a generalized electrostatic persistence length is obtained, which has a nontrivial dependence on the Debye screening length.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4456-4459
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 1999


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