Long-Ranged Attractive Forces Induced by Adsorbed Dendrimers: Direct Force Measurements and Computer Simulations
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Interaction forces between charged interfaces in the presence of oppositely charged dendrimers are studied by experiment and simulation. The experiments involve direct force measurements with all atomic force microscope (AFM) between two negatively charged colloidal particles in the presence of adsorbed, positively charged globular dendrimers. The simulations are carried out by treating the macroions explicitly, while the small salt ions are treated implicitly through the Debye-Huckel approximation. The system undergoes overcharging, and at the isoelectric point long-ranged attractive electrostatic forces are present. The range of the attraction is on the order of half the Debye length at high salt concentration, but it becomes smaller at low salt concentration. Away from the isoelectric point, repulsive electrostatic forces are observed due to diffuse layer overlap. A semiquantitative agreement between experiment and Simulation is obtained, despite the fact that the simple theoretical model does not involve any adjustable parameters. This study provides for the first time detailed comparison between experimental and simulation data of interaction forces between colloidal particles in the presence of multivalent macroions and monovalent salt ions.