Hydrophobic polyelectrolytes.
Michael Rubinstein (Université de Chapel Hill, Caroline N, USA, Lab. Phys. Mat. Cond, Collège de France)

Jeudi 11 juin 1998

Most synthetic polymers do not dissolve in water. Attaching charges to these hydrophobic polymers makes them soluble in water due to electrostatic repulsion. The interplay between the short-range hydrophobic attraction and the long-range electrostatic repulsion creates an interesting and delicate balance that forces chains into an unusual necklace shape. As charge on the chains or temperature of the solution changes we predict a cascade of transitions between necklaces with different number of beads.

This necklace-like structure manifests itself in the unusual static and dynamic properties of hydrophobic polyelectrolyte solutions.