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50th Anniversary Perspective: A Perspective on Polyelectrolyte Solutions

Macromolecules

American Chemical Society

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      Abstract

      From the beginning of life with the information-containing polymers until the present era of a plethora of water-based materials in health care industry and biotechnology, polyelectrolytes are ubiquitous with a broad range of structural and functional properties. The main attribute of polyelectrolyte solutions is that all molecules are strongly correlated both topologically and electrostatically in their neutralizing background of charged ions in highly polarizable solvent. These strong correlations and the necessary use of numerous variables in experiments on polyelectrolytes have presented immense challenges toward fundamental understanding of the various behaviors of charged polymeric systems. This Perspective presents the author’s subjective summary of several conceptual advances and the remaining persistent challenges in the contexts of charge and size of polymers, structures in homogeneous solutions, thermodynamic instability and phase transitions, structural evolution with oppositely charged polymers, dynamics in polyelectrolyte solutions, kinetics of phase separation, mobility of charged macromolecules between compartments, and implications to biological systems.

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      Most cited references 183

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      Characterization of individual polynucleotide molecules using a membrane channel

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        A nanopore-based device provides single-molecule detection and analytical capabilities that are achieved by electrophoretically driving molecules in solution through a nano-scale pore. The nanopore provides a highly confined space within which single nucleic acid polymers can be analyzed at high throughput by one of a variety of means, and the perfect processivity that can be enforced in a narrow pore ensures that the native order of the nucleobases in a polynucleotide is reflected in the sequence of signals that is detected. Kilobase length polymers (single-stranded genomic DNA or RNA) or small molecules (e.g., nucleosides) can be identified and characterized without amplification or labeling, a unique analytical capability that makes inexpensive, rapid DNA sequencing a possibility. Further research and development to overcome current challenges to nanopore identification of each successive nucleotide in a DNA strand offers the prospect of 'third generation' instruments that will sequence a diploid mammalian genome for approximately $1,000 in approximately 24 h.
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          Limiting Laws and Counterion Condensation in Polyelectrolyte Solutions I. Colligative Properties

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts , Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, United States
            Author notes
            Journal
            Macromolecules
            Macromolecules
            ma
            mamobx
            Macromolecules
            American Chemical Society
            0024-9297
            1520-5835
            14 December 2017
            26 December 2017
            : 50
            : 24
            : 9528-9560
            5746850 10.1021/acs.macromol.7b01929
            Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society

            This is an open access article published under an ACS AuthorChoice License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article or any adaptations for non-commercial purposes.

            Categories
            Perspective
            Custom metadata
            ma7b01929
            ma-2017-01929t

            Polymer chemistry

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