Indexed on: 13 Aug '10Published on: 13 Aug '10Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry B
The structure of spherical electric double layers in the presence of mixed electrolytes is studied using Monte Carlo simulation and density functional theory within the restricted primitive model. The macroion is modeled as an impenetrable charged hard sphere carrying a uniform surface charge density, surrounded by the small ions represented as charged hard spheres, and the solvent is taken as a dielectric continuum. The density functional theory uses a partially perturbative scheme, where the hard-sphere contribution to the one-particle correlation function is evaluated using weighted density approximation and the ionic interactions are calculated using a second-order functional Taylor expansion with respect to a bulk electrolyte. The Monte Carlo simulations have been performed in canonical ensemble. The system is studied at varying ionic concentrations, at different concentration ratios of mono- and multivalent counterions of mixed electrolytes, at different diameters of hard spheres, at different macroion radius, and at varying polyion surface charge densities. The theoretical predictions in terms of the density profiles and the mean electrostatic potential profiles are found to be in good agreement with the simulation results. This model study shows clear manipulations of ionic size and charge correlations in dictating a number of interesting phenomena relating to width of the diffuse layer and charge inversion under different parametric conditions.