Surface forces mediated by charged polymers: Effects of intrinsic chain stiffness
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The strength and range of surface forces in a system consisting of charged polymers with variable intramolecular stiffness confined between two charged planar surfaces have been investigated by Monte Carlo simulations. The negatively charged surfaces are neutralized by polymers carrying charges of opposite sign. Introducing the intermediate intrinsic stiffness of the chains gives rise to a weaker, but more long-ranged attraction between the surfaces. In the limit of infinitely stiff chains, this bridging attraction is lost, but it is replaced by a strong correlation attraction at short distances. Comparisons with predictions by a correlation-corrected polyelectrolyte Poisson-Boltzmann theory are made. The theory predicts surface attractions that are somewhat too weak, but all qualitative features are correctly reproduced. Given the crudeness of the model, the quantitative agreement is satisfactory.