Solvation Structure, Dynamics, and Charge Transfer Kinetics of Cu2+ and Cu+ in Choline Chloride Ethylene Glycol Electrolytes

Y Zhang and JM Klein and R Akolkar and BE Gurkan and EJ Maginn, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B (2022).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.2c04798

Experimental measurements and classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were carried out to study electrolytes containing CuCl2 and CuCl salts in mixtures of choline chloride (ChCl) and ethylene glycol (EG). The study focused on the concentration of 100 mM of both CuCl2 and CuCl with the ratio of ChCl/EG varied from 1:2, 1:3, 1:4, to 1:5. It was found that the Cu2+ and Cu+ have different solvation environments in their first solvation shell. Cu2+ is coordinated by both Cl- anions and EG molecules, whereas Cu+ is only solvated by EG. However, both Cu2+ and Cu+ show strong interactions with their second solvation shells, which include both Cl- anions and EG molecules. Considering both the first and second solvation shells, the concentrations of Cu2+ and Cu+ that have various coordination numbers in each solution were calculated and were found to correlate qualitatively with the exchange current density trends reported in previous experiments of Cu2+ reduction to Cu+. This finding makes a connection between atomic solvation structure observed in MD simulations and redox reaction kinetics measured in electrochemical experiments, thus revealing the significance of the solvation environment of reduced and oxidized species for electrokinetics in deep eutectic solvents.

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