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Interdiscip Sci. 2011 Dec;3(4):251-65. doi: 10.1007/s12539-011-0106-5. Epub 2011 Dec 18.

Effects of polydispersity and anisotropy in colloidal and protein solutions: an integral equation approach.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Molecolari e Nanosistemi, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Venezia, Italy.


Application of integral equation theory to complex fluids is reviewed, with particular emphasis to the effects of polydispersity and anisotropy on their structural and thermodynamic properties. Both analytical and numerical solutions of integral equations are discussed within the context of a set of minimal potential models that have been widely used in the literature. While other popular theoretical tools, such as numerical simulations and density functional theory, are superior for quantitative and accurate predictions, we argue that integral equation theory still provides, as in simple fluids, an invaluable technique that is able to capture the main essential features of a complex system, at a much lower computational cost. In addition, it can provide a detailed description of the angular dependence in arbitrary frame, unlike numerical simulations where this information is frequently hampered by insufficient statistics. Applications to colloidal mixtures, globular proteins and patchy colloids are discussed, within a unified framework.

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