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Electric-Field-Induced Spatially Dynamic Heterogeneity of Solvent Motion and Cation Transference in Electrolytes.

  • Author(s): Halat, David M;
  • Fang, Chao;
  • Hickson, Darby;
  • Mistry, Aashutosh;
  • Reimer, Jeffrey A;
  • Balsara, Nitash P;
  • Wang, Rui
  • et al.
Abstract

While electric fields primarily result in migration of charged species in electrolytic solutions, the solutions are dynamically heterogeneous. Solvent molecules within the solvation shells of the cation will be dragged by the field while free solvent molecules will not. We combine electrophoretic NMR measurements of ion and solvent velocities under applied electric fields with molecular dynamics simulations to interrogate different solvation motifs in a model liquid electrolyte. Measured values of the cation transference number (t_{+}^{0}) agree quantitatively with simulation-based predictions over a range of electrolyte concentrations. Solvent-cation interactions strongly influence the concentration-dependent behavior of t_{+}^{0}. We identify a critical concentration at which most of the solvent molecules lie within solvation shells of the cations. The dynamic heterogeneity of solvent molecules is minimized at this concentration where t_{+}^{0} is approximately equal to zero.

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