Stability of charge inversion, Thomson problem, and application to electrophoresis

M. Patra, M. Patriarca, M.E.J. Karttunen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    We analyze charge inversion in colloidal systems at zero temperature using stability concepts, and connect this to the classical Thomson problem of arranging electrons on sphere. We show that for a finite microion charge, the globally stable, lowest-energy state of the complex formed by the colloid and the oppositely charged microions is always overcharged. This effect disappears in the continuous limit. Additionally, a layer of at least twice as many microions as required for charge neutrality is always locally stable. In an applied external electric field the stability of the microion cloud is reduced. Finally, this approach is applied to a system of two colloids at low but finite temperature.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)031402-1/7
    JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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