We applied a simulation method [T. Sumi and H. Sekino, J. Chem. Phys. 122, 194910 (2005)] to an infinitely dilute polyelectrolyte immersed in one-component charged fluids in order to investigate salt effects on its collapse. In this model system, the degree of freedom of the counterion (or the coion) is considered using a density-functional theory for polymer-solvent admixtures, while the oppositely charged ions are treated as a structureless background having the opposite charge. Results obtained by these simulations show that not only the counterion but also the coion makes the polymer chain collapsed. The effects by the coion are stronger than that by the counterion. Temperature variation of the gyration radius of the polymer chain immersed in the counterion is opposite to that in the coion: while the radius of gyration decreases as the temperature decreases in the case of the counterion, it decreases as the temperature increases in the case of the coion. From these results we conclude that the former is interpreted as an enthalpy-driven collapse caused by the screening effects of the counterion, whereas the latter is interpreted as an entropy-driven one due to the translational entropy of the coion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics