Theoretical analysis of screened many-body electrostatic interactions between charged polarizable particles

31 Oct 2018  ·  Lindgren Eric B., Quan Chaoyu, Stamm Benjamin ·

This paper builds on two previous works, Lindgren et al. J. Comp. Phys... 371, 712-731 (2018) and Quan et al. arXiv:1807.05384 (2018), to devise a new method to solve the problem of calculating electrostatic interactions in a system composed by many dielectric particles, embedded in a homogeneous dielectric medium, which in turn can also be permeated by charge carriers. The system is defined by the charge, size, position and dielectric constant of each particle, as well as the dielectric constant and Debye length of the medium. The effects of taking into account the dielectric nature of the particles is explored in selected scenarios where the presence of electrolytes in the medium can significantly influence the total undergoing interactions. Description of the mutual interactions between all particles in the system as being truly of many-body nature reveals how such effects can effectively influence the magnitudes and even directions of the resulting forces, especially those acting on particles that have a null net charge. Particular attention is given to a situation that can be related to colloidal particles in an electrolyte solution, where it's shown that polarization effects alone can substantially raise or lower---depending on the dielectric contrast between the particles and the medium---the energy barrier that divides particle coagulation and flocculation regions, when an interplay between electrostatic and additional van der Waals forces is considered. Overall, the results suggest that for an accurate description of the type of system in question, it is essential to consider particle polarization if the separation between the interacting particles are comparable to or smaller than the Debye length of the medium. read more

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Soft Condensed Matter Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics