Verde, Ana Vila; Santer, Mark; Lipowsky, Reinhard
Solvent-shared pairs of densely charged ions induce intense but short-range supra-additive slowdown of water rotation

The question "Can ions exert supra-additive effects on water dynamics?'' has had several opposing answers from both simulation and experiment. We address this ongoing controversy by investigating water reorientation in aqueous solutions of two salts with large (magnesium sulfate) and small (cesium chloride) effects on water dynamics using molecular dynamics simulations and classical, polarizable models. The salt models are reparameterized to reproduce properties of both dilute and concentrated solutions. We demonstrate that water rotation in concentrated MgSO4 solutions is unexpectedly slow, in agreement with experiment, and that the slowdown is supra-additive: the observed slowdown is larger than that predicted by assuming that the resultant of the extra forces induced by the ions on the rotating water molecules tilts the free energy landscape associated with water rotation. Supra-additive slow down is very intense but short-range, and is strongly ion-specific: in contrast to the long-range picture initially proposed based on experiment, we find that intense supra-additivity is limited to water molecules directly bridging two ions in solvent-shared ion pair configuration; in contrast to a non-ion-specific origin to supra-additive effects proposed from simulations, we find that the magnitude of supra-additive slowdown strongly depends on the identity of the cations and anions. Supra-additive slowdown of water dynamics requires long-lived solvent-shared ion pairs; long-lived ion pairs should be typical for salts of multivalent ions. We discuss the origin of the apparent disagreement between the various studies on this topic and show that the short-range cooperative slowdown scenario proposed here resolves the existing controversy.


Find full text with Google Scholar.