Dynamics of Electrolytes

Transport of ions is arguable the most important property of an electrolyte, as such transport gives rise to electrical conductivity. The motion of ions in technologically relevant concentrated electrolytes - as opposed to dilute electrolytes - is however poorly understood. At high concentrations, both the interaction of ions amongst each other and the interaction of ions with the solvent is decisive for ionic motion. In our current research we elucidate these interactions and their consequences for electrolyte performance.

For ionic liquids - electrolytes that solely consist of ions - we could show that the mobility of ions is rather heterogeneously distributed. Such heterogeneities open new opportunities for material science. Moreover, hydrogen-bonding within these ionic liquids gives rise to a jump-like ionic motion. Conversely, our current work on aqueous electrolytes shows that ions in water move continuously on a molecular scale. Yet, the amplitude of such ionic motion on a molecular scale determines macroscopic conductivity.

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