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Electrolytes at spherical dielectric interfaces

Curtis, R.A. and Lue, L. (2005) Electrolytes at spherical dielectric interfaces. Journal of Chemical Physics, 123 (17). ISSN 0021-9606

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Abstract

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.