Asymmetric electrolytes near structured dielectric interfaces

Huanxin Wu, Honghao Li, Francisco Solis, Monica Olvera De La Cruz, Erik Luijten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The ion distribution of electrolytes near interfaces with dielectric contrast has important consequences for electrochemical processes and many other applications. To date, most studies of such systems have focused on geometrically simple interfaces, for which dielectric effects are analytically solvable or computationally tractable. However, all real surfaces display nontrivial structure at the nanoscale and have, in particular, a nonuniform local curvature. Using a recently developed, highly efficient computational method, we investigate the effect of surface geometry on ion distribution and interface polarization. We consider an asymmetric 2:1 electrolyte bounded by a sinusoidally deformed solid surface. We demonstrate that even when the surface is neutral, the electrolyte acquires a nonuniform ion density profile near the surface. This profile is asymmetric and leads to an effective charging of the surface. We furthermore show that the induced charge is modulated by the local curvature. The effective charge is opposite in sign to the multivalent ions and is larger in concave regions of the surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number164701
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 28 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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