To investigate the influence of electrostatic interactions on the self-assembly of supramolecular polymers, we extend an existing statistical-mechanical model to describe the self-assembly of co- polymers consisting of two oppositely charged species in a strictly alternating configuration.
Moreover, we investigate the influence of electrostatic interactions on the self-assembly of 1D line- ar aggregates where we derive an exact closed-form solution for the electrostatic free energy of alternating copolymers of oppositely charged monomers.
Our model shows that attractive electrostatic interactions between oppositely charged monomers facilitate self-assembly in aqueous solutions at neutral PH. At low and high PH, however, the polymerisation of copolymers becomes less cooperative for increased Debye screening lengths. The non-linear charge distribution along the copolymeric chain and the effect of charge regulation are investigated using density functional theory, for which our theoretical results show quantitative agreement with Monte Carlo simulations.
Additionally, we show that there is a sharp pH depending transition from the homopolymer to the copolymer state, which is in agreement with experimental results.