Shining (Infrared) Light on the Hofmeister Series: Driving Forces for Changes in the Water Vibrational Spectra in Alkali-Halide Salt Solutions

AK Borkowski and WH Thompson, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 126, 6700-6712 (2022).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.2c03957

The Hofmeister series is frequently used to rank ions based on their behavior from chaotropes ( "structure breakers "), which weaken the surrounding hydrogen-bond network, to kosmotropes ( "structure makers "), which enhance it. Here, we use fluctuation theory to investigate the energetic and entropic driving forces underlying the Hofmeister series for aqueous alkali-halide solutions. Specifically, we exploit the OH stretch infrared (IR) spectrum in isotopically dilute HOD/D2O solutions as a probe of the effect of the salt on the water properties for different concentrations and choice of halide anion. Fluctuation theory is used to calculate the temperature derivative of these IR spectra, including decomposition of the derivative into different energetic contributions. These contributions are used to determine the thermodynamic driving forces in terms of effective internal energy and entropic contributions. This analysis implicates entropic contributions as the key factor in the Hofmeister series behavior of the OH stretch IR spectra, while the effective internal energy is nearly ion-independent.

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