Polymer chain collapse induced by many-body dipole correlations
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We present a simple analytical theory of a flexible polymer chain dissolved in a good solvent, carrying permanent freely oriented dipoles on the monomers. We take into account the dipole correlations within the random phase approximation (RPA), as well as a dielectric heterogeneity in the internal polymer volume relative to the bulk solution. We demonstrate that the dipole correlations of monomers can be taken into account as pairwise ones only when the polymer chain is in a coil conformation. In this case the dipole correlations manifest themselves through the Keesom interactions of the permanent dipoles. On the other hand, the dielectric heterogeneity effect (dielectric mismatch effect) leads to the effective interaction between the monomers of the polymeric coil. Both of these effects can be taken into account by renormalizing the second virial coefficient of the monomer-monomer volume interactions. We establish that in the case when the solvent dielectric permittivity exceeds the dielectric permittivity of the polymeric material, the dielectric mismatch effect competes with the dipole attractive interactions, leading to polymer coil expansion. In the opposite case, both the dielectric mismatch effect and the dipole attractive interaction lead to the polymer coil collapse. We analyse the coil-globule transition caused by the dipole correlations of monomers within the many-body theory. We demonstrate that accounting for the dipole correlations higher than the pairwise ones smooths this pure electrostatics driven coil-globule transition of the polymer chain.