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Mesoscale ordering in binary aqueous solvents induced by ion size asymmetry

Journal article
Authors Monika Witala
Sebastian Lages
Kim Nygård
Published in Soft Matter
Volume 12
Issue 21
Pages 4778-4782
ISSN 1744-683X
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 4778-4782
Language en
Subject categories Statistical physics, Critical phenomena (phase transitions), Liquid physics, Mesoscopic physics, Physical Chemistry, Surface and colloid chemistry


Surprising weak assembly behavior has lately been found in binary aqueous solvents containing antagonistic salt. The underlying mechanism is still under debate, particularly the role of ion size asymmetry. Here we use small-angle X-ray scattering to study the effect of ion size asymmetry on the mesoscale ordering in a binary solvent composed of water and 2,6-dimethylpyridine with added symmetrical quaternary ammonium salt. By systematically elongating the hydrocarbon side-chain lengths, and hence developing cation-to-anion size asymmetry, we provide the first experimental evidence of a gradual build-up of the solvent's mesoscale ordering. These results are in qualitative agreement with model-independent theoretical predictions.

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