Molecular Dynamics Investigation of the Dielectric Decrement of Ion Solutions

Pache, D. and Schmid, R.

Volume: 5 Pages: 1444-1450
DOI: 10.1002/celc.201800158
Published: 2018

Molecular dynamics simulations, using a classical force field model, have been used to determine the dependence of the static relative dielectric constant of ion solutions with respect to the nature and concentration of the ions and the field strength. The experimentally observed effect of a reduction of the dielectric permittivity due to solvated ions is known as dielectric decrement. We used both the polarization fluctuation at zero field and the constant dielectric displacement method for finite fields to determine the dielectric constant of the bulk solution. All the experimentally observed tendencies of the dielectric decrement could be qualitatively reproduced. The analysis of different solute solvent radial distribution functions indicate that the dielectric decrement arises from the competition between the macroscopic electric field and the local water-ion interaction. The results suggest that the electric field eventually manages to overcome the local molecular interactions, breaking up the structure of the solvation shell and thus lowering the ion's effect on the dielectric constant. This effect seems to correlate with the solvation energy of the individual ions as well as the type of counter ion, indicating that also long range interactions might play a role. The results can be used to improve especially continuum electrolyte models, used to study electrochemical interfaces, where currently the dielectric decrement is generally not included. © 2018 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

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