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Title: Co-ion Effects in the Self-Assembly of Macroions: From Co-ions to Co-macroions and to the Unique Feature of Self-Recognition
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10519 to 10527
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Macroions, as soluble ions with a size on the nanometer scale, show unique solution behavior different from those of simple ions and large colloidal suspensions. In macroionic solutions, the counterions are known to be important and wellexplored. However, the role of co-ions (ions carrying the same type of charge as the macroions) is often ignored. Here, through experimental and simulation studies, we demonstrate the role of coions as a function of co-ion size on their interaction with the macroions (using {Mo72Fe30} and {SrPd12} as models) and the related self-assembly into blackberry-type structures in dilute solutions. Several regimes of unique co-ion effects are clearly identified: small ions (halides, oxoacid ions), subnanometer-scaled bulky ions (lacunary Keggin and dodecaborate ions), and those with sizes comparable to the macroions. Small co-ions have no observable effect on the self-assembly of fully hydrophilic {Mo72Fe30}, while due to hydrophobic interaction and intermolecular hydrogen bonds, the small co-ions show influences on the self-assembly of hydrophobic {SrPd12}. Subnanometer ions, a.k.a. “superchaotropic ions”, are still too small to assemble into a blackberry by themselves, but they can coassemble with the macroions, showing a strong interaction with the macroionic system. When the co-ion size is comparable to that of the macroions,more »they assemble independently instead of assembling with the macroions, leading to the previously reported unique self-recognition phenomenon for macroions.« less