Attraction between neutral dielectrics mediated by multivalent ions in an asymmetric ionic fluid

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Abstract

We study the interaction between two neutral plane-parallel dielectric bodies in the presence of a highly asymmetric ionic fluid, containing multivalent as well as monovalent (salt) ions. Image charge interactions, due to dielectric discontinuities at the boundaries, as well as effects from ion confinement in the slit region between the surfaces are taken fully into account, leading to image-generated depletion attraction, ion correlation attraction, and steric-like repulsive interactions. We investigate these effects by employing a combination of Monte Carlo simulation methods, including explicit-ion simulations (where all electrostatic interactions are simulated explicitly) and implicit-ion simulations (where monovalent ions are replaced by an effective screened electrostatic potential between multivalent ions), as well as an approximate analytical theory. The latter incorporates strong ion-image charge correlations, which develop in the presence of high valency ions in the mixture. We show that the implicit-ion simulations and the proposed analytical theory can describe the explicit simulation results on a qualitative level, while excellent quantitative agreement can be obtained for sufficiently large monovalent salt concentrations. The resultant attractive interaction between the neutral surfaces is shown to be significant, as compared with the usual van der Waals interactions between semi-infinite dielectrics, and can thus play an important role at the nano scale. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4763472]

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Theoretical Chemistry

Keywords

  • dielectric liquids, Monte Carlo methods, permittivity
Original languageEnglish
Article number174704
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Volume137
Issue number17
StatePublished - 2012
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Theoretical Chemistry (S) (011001039)