Beyond Poisson-Boltzmann : fluctuations and fluid structure in a self-consistent theory
Journal of Physics Condensed Matter
Institute of Physics Publishing
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Poisson-Boltzmann (PB) theory is the classic approach to soft matter electrostatics and has been applied to numerous physical chemistry and biophysics problems. Its essential limitations are in its neglect of correlation effects and fluid structure. Recently, several theoretical insights have allowed the formulation of approaches that go beyond PB theory in a systematic way. In this topical review, we provide an update on the developments achieved in the self-consistent formulations of correlation-corrected Poisson-Boltzmann theory. We introduce a corresponding system of coupled non-linear equations for both continuum electrostatics with a uniform dielectric constant, and a structured solvent - a dipolar Coulomb fluid - including non-local effects. While the approach is only approximate and also limited to corrections in the so-called weak fluctuation regime, it allows us to include physically relevant effects, as we show for a range of applications of these equations.