Polyelectrolyte multilayer formation: Electrostatics and short-range interactions

A. Shafir, D. Andelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the phenomenon of multilayer formation via layer-by-layer deposition of alternating charged polyelectrolytes. Using mean-field theory, we find that a strong short-range attraction between the two types of polymer chains is essential for the formation of multilayers. For strong enough short-range attraction, the adsorbed amount per layer increases (after an initial decrease), and finally it stabilizes in the form of a polyelectrolyte multilayer that can be repeated hundreds of times. For weak short-range attraction between any two adjacent layers, the adsorbed amount (per added layer) decays as the distance from the surface increases, until the chains stop adsorbing altogether. The dependence of the threshold value of the short-range attraction as function of the polymer charge fraction and salt concentration is calculated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Physical Journal E
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


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