The effect of replacing the conventional uniform macroion surface charge density with discrete macroion charge distributions on structural properties of aqueous solutions of like-charged macroions has been investigated by Monte Carlo simulations. Two discrete charge distributions have been considered: point charges localized on the macroion surface and finite-sized charges protruding into the solution. Both discrete charge distributions have been examined with fixed and mobile macroion charges. Different boundary conditions have been applied to examine various properties. With point charges localized on the macroion surface, counterions become stronger accumulated to the macroion and the effect increases with counterion valence. As a consequence, with mono- and divalent counterions the potential of mean force between two macroions becomes less repulsive and with trivalent counterions more attractive. With protruding charges, the excluded volume effect dominates over the increased correlation ability; hence the counterions are less accumulated near the macroions and the potential of mean force between two macroions becomes more repulsive/less attractive. (c) 2005 American Institute of Physics.
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