Conformations and Solution Properties of Star-Branched Polyelectrolytes

  • Oleg V. BorisovEmail author
  • Ekaterina B. Zhulina
  • Frans A. M. Leermakers
  • Matthias Ballauff
  • Axel H. E. Müller
Part of the Advances in Polymer Science book series (POLYMER, volume 241)


Aqueous solutions of star-like polyelectrolytes (PEs) exhibit distinctive features that originate from the topological complexity of branched macromolecules. In a salt-free solution of branched PEs, mobile counterions preferentially localize in the intramolecular volume of branched macroions. Counterion localization manifests itself in a dramatic reduction of the osmotic coefficient in solutions of branched polyions as compared with those of linear PEs. The intramolecular osmotic pressure, created by entrapped counterions, imposes stretched conformations of branches and this leads to dramatic intramolecular conformational transitions upon variations in environmental conditions. In this chapter, we overview the theory of conformations and stimuli-induced conformational transitions in star-like PEs in aqueous solutions and compare these to the data from experiments and Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations.


Branched polyelectrolytes Ionic fractals Charge renormalization Intra-molecular conformational transitions 



The support of the European Union within the Marie Curie Research and Training Network POLYAMPHI and of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, grant 08-03-33126a is gratefully acknowledged. OVB acknowledges the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for support of his stay in the University of Bayreuth. We thank A.A. Polotsky, F.A. Plamper and P. Kosovan for creating Figs. 2,8, and 19, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oleg V. Borisov
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ekaterina B. Zhulina
    • 2
  • Frans A. M. Leermakers
    • 3
  • Matthias Ballauff
    • 4
  • Axel H. E. Müller
    • 5
  1. 1.Institut Pluridisciplinaire de Recherche sur, l’Environnement et les MatériauxUMR 5254 CNRS/UPPAPauFrance
  2. 2.Institute of Macromolecular Compounds of the Russian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Colloid ScienceWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Humboldt Universität and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmBH BerlinBerlinGermany
  5. 5.Makromolekulare Chimie II and Bayreuther Zentrum für Kolloide und GrenzflächenUniversität BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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