Electrolytes at spherical dielectric interfaces

R.A. Curtis, L. Lue

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A variational theory is developed and applied to study the properties of dielectric spheres immersed in a symmetric electrolyte solution. In the limit that the radius of the sphere becomes much larger than the Debye screening length, the system reduces to that of a planar dielectric interface. For this case, the excess surface tension obtained by the variational theory reduces to the Onsager-Samaras [J. Chem. Phys. 2, 528 (1934)] limiting law at low electrolyte concentrations. As the radius of the dielectric sphere decreases, the excess surface tension also decreases. The implications of this work to protein-salt interactions and the salting out of proteins are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number17
Early online date31 Oct 2005
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2005


  • proteins
  • molecular biophysics
  • electrolytes
  • bioelectric phenomena


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