Strong electrostatic interactions in spherical colloidal systems
We investigate spherical macroions in the strong Coulomb coupling regime within the primitive model in salt-free environment. We first show that the ground state of an isolated colloid is naturally overcharged by simple electrostatic arguments illustrated by the Gillespie rule. We furthermore demonstrate that in the strong Coulomb coupling this mechanism leads to ionized states and thus to long range attractions between like-charged spheres. We use molecular dynamics simulations to study in detail the counterion distribution for one and two highly charged colloids for the ground state as well as for finite temperatures. We compare our results in terms of a simple version of a Wigner crystal theory and find excellent qualitative and quantitative agreement.