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Ion Solvation Engineering: How to Manipulate the Multiplicity of the Coordination Environment of Multivalent Ions

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journal contribution
posted on 22.10.2020, 16:38 authored by Artem Baskin, David Prendergast
Free energy analysis of solvation structures of free divalent cations, their ion pairs, and neutral aggregates in low dielectric solvents reveals the multiplicity of thermodynamically stable cation solvation configurations and identifies the micro- and macroscopic factors responsible for this phenomenon. Specifically, we show the role of ion–solvent interactions and solvent mixtures in determining the cation solvation free energy landscapes. We show that it is the entropic contribution of solvent degrees of freedom that is responsible for the solvation multiplicity, and the mutual balance between enthalpic and entropic forces or their concerted contributions is what ultimately defines the most stable ion solvation configuration and creates new ones. We show general consequences of ion solvation multiplicity on thermodynamics of complex electrolytes, specifically in the context of homogeneous or interfacial charge transfer. Identified factors and their interplay provide a pathway to formulation of solvation design rules that can be used to control bulk solvation, interfacial chemistry, and charge transfer. Our findings also suggest experimentally testable predictions.

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