Probing the Hofmeister series beyond water: Specific-ion effects in non-aqueous solvents

Virginia Mazzini, Guangming Liu, Vincent S.J. Craig

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    We present an experimental investigation of specific-ion effects in non-aqueous solvents, with the aim of elucidating the role of the solvent in perturbing the fundamental ion-specific trend. The focus is on the anions: CH3COO->F->Cl->Br->I->ClO4->SCN- in the solvents water, methanol, formamide, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), and propylene carbonate (PC). Two types of experiments are presented. The first experiment employs the technique of size exclusion chromatography to evaluate the elution times of electrolytes in the different solvents. We observe that the fundamental (Hofmeister) series is observed in water and methanol, whilst the series is reversed in DMSO and PC. No clear series is observed for formamide. The second experiment uses the quartz crystal microbalance technique to follow the ion-induced swelling and collapse of a polyelectrolyte brush. Here the fundamental series is observed in the protic solvents water, methanol, and formamide, and the series is once again reversed in DMSO and PC. These behaviours are not attributed to the protic/aprotic nature of the solvents, but rather to the polarisability of the solvents and are due to the competition between the interaction of ions with the solvent and the surface. A rule of thumb is proposed for ion specificity in non-aqueous solvents. In weakly polarisable solvents, the trends in specific-ion effects will follow those in water, whereas in strongly polarisable solvents the reverse trend will be observed. Solvents of intermediate polarisability will give weak specific-ion effects.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number222805
    JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
    Issue number22
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2018


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