Ion-Specific and pH-Dependent Hydration of Mica-Electrolyte Interfaces

Simone R. van Lin, Kara K. Grotz, Igor Siretanu, Nadine Schwierz, Frieder Mugele*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
194 Downloads (Pure)


Hydration forces play a crucial role in a wide range of phenomena in physics, chemistry, and biology. Here, we study the hydration of mica surfaces in contact with various alkali chloride solutions over a wide range of concentrations and pH values. Using atomic force microscopy and molecular dynamics simulations, we demonstrate that hydration forces consist of a superposition of a monotonically decaying and an oscillatory part, each with a unique dependence on the specific type of cation. The monotonic hydration force gradually decreases in strength with decreasing bulk hydration energy, leading to a transition from an overall repulsive (Li + , Na + ) to an attractive (Rb + , Cs + ) force. The oscillatory part, in contrast, displays a binary character, being hardly affected by the presence of strongly hydrated cations (Li + , Na + ), but it becomes completely suppressed in the presence of weakly hydrated cations (Rb + , Cs + ), in agreement with a less pronounced water structure in simulations. For both aspects, K + plays an intermediate role, and decreasing pH follows the trend of increasing Rb + and Cs + concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5737-5745
Number of pages9
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019


  • UT-Hybrid-D


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