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By Biological Systems, A. Yu. Grosberg, T. T. Nguyen and B. I. Shklovskii


We review recent advances in physics of strongly interacting charged systems functioning in water at room temperature. We concentrate on the phenomena which go beyond the framework of mean field theories, whether linear Debye-Hückel or non-linear Poisson-Boltzmann. We place major emphasis on charge inversion- a recently discovered counterintuitive phenomenon in which a strongly charged particle, called macroion, binds so many counterions that its net charge changes sign. We discuss the universal theory of charge inversion based on the idea of strongly correlated liquid of adsorbed counterions, similar to a Wigner crystal. This theory has vast array of applications, particularly in biology and chemistry; for example, DNA double helix in presence of positive multivalent ions acquires net positive charge and drifts as a positive particle in electrophoresis. We discuss also the experimental evidence of charge inversion and its analogies in physics

Topics: II. Historical remarks, Mean field theories 3
Year: 2001
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