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ABSTRACT The distribution of divalent ions in semidilute solutions of high-molecular-mass DNA containing both sodium chloride and strontium chloride in near-physiological conditions is studied by small-angle x-ray scattering and by small-angle neutron scattering. Both small-angle neutron scattering and small-angle x-ray scattering reveal a continuous increase in the scattering intensity at low q with increasing divalent ion concentration, while at high q the scattering curves converge. The best fit to the data is found for a configuration in which DNA strands of cross-sectional radius 10 A ˚ are surrounded by a counterion sheath of outer radius;13.8 A ˚ , independent of the strontium chloride concentration. When the strontium chloride is replaced by calcium chloride, similar results are obtained, but the thickness of the sheath increases when the divalent salt concentration decreases. These results correspond in both cases to partial localization of the counterions within a layer that is thinner than the effective Debye screening length

Year: 2004
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