Multivalent cation induced attraction of anionic polymers by like-charged pores

Sahin Buyukdagli, T. Ala-Nissila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
109 Downloads (Pure)


The efficiency of nanopore-based polymer sensing devices depends on the fast capture of anionic polyelectrolytes by negatively charged pores. This requires the cancellation of the electrostatic barrier associated with repulsive polymer-pore interactions. We develop a correlation-corrected theory to show that the barrier experienced by the polymer can be efficiently overcome by the addition of multivalent cations into the electrolyte solution. Cation adsorption into the pore enhances the screening ability of the pore medium with respect to the bulk reservoir which translates into an attractive force on the polymer. Beyond a critical multivalent cation concentration, this correlation-induced attraction overcomes the electrostatic barrier and triggers the adsorption of the polymer by the like-charged pore. It is shown that like-charge polymer-pore attraction is suppressed by monovalent salt but enhanced by the membrane charge strength and the pore confinement. Our predictions may provide enhanced control over polymer motion in translocation experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144901
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Dive into the research topics of 'Multivalent cation induced attraction of anionic polymers by like-charged pores'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this