Wed, Dec. 10, 2014, 3:15pm - 5:30pm
Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Taylor Auditorium
Host: Garnet Chan
3:15 p.m. – Public research seminar, Taylor Auditorium
4:30 p.m. – Research proposal, A81
The electric double layer has a life of its own: Beyond a mean-field description of charged interfaces
The electric double layer is generally viewed as the boundary between an electrolyte solution and a metal surface. Properties of such interfaces are traditionally rationalized within a mean-field or continuum limit, which neglects correlations within the solvent and between ions. Increasingly, surface-sensitive measurements and molecular simulation are providing a much richer picture of these interfaces. In my talk, I will describe results for systems that exhibit strong spatiotemporal correlations, which result in a variety of emergent behaviors. Specifically, in the case of an aqueous platinum interface, solvent correlations result in surprising solvation properties reminiscent of a liquid-vapor interface but that are dynamically heterogeneous. In the case of an ionic liquid-graphite interface, ion correlations parallel to the electrode result in a first-order surface phase transition with a concomitant divergence in the capacitance. Theoretical and numerical methods for studying these effects will be presented and implications for heterogeneous catalysis and energy storage will be suggested.