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Dielectric relaxation spectroscopy: An old-but-new technique for the investigation of electrolyte solutions

Hefter, G. and Buchner, R. (2020) Dielectric relaxation spectroscopy: An old-but-new technique for the investigation of electrolyte solutions. Pure and Applied Chemistry, 92 (10). pp. 1595-1609.

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The use of dielectric relaxation spectroscopy (DRS) for studying electrolyte solutions is reviewed, focussing on the authors’ investigations over the last three decades. It is shown that this often-overlooked technique provides powerful insights into the nature of ion-ion and ion-solvent interactions. DRS is revealed to be particularly useful for detection of weak ion association and, due to its unique ability to detect solvent-separated species, the quantitation of ion pairing. It is demonstrated that DRS correctly determines chemical speciation for ion-paired systems where major spectroscopic techniques (NMR, Raman, UV-vis) fail. DRS also provides important insights into ion solvation. In aqueous solutions, it has been used to build up a coherent set of ‘effective’ hydration numbers for ions based on the dynamics of proximate water molecules, and has a unique ability to detect ‘slow’ water resulting from hydrophilic and hydrophobic hydration of solutes. DRS has been especially useful for characterising the behaviour of ionic liquids (ILs), e.g. showing they possess rather low dielectric constants and, surprisingly, contain no significant concentrations of ion pairs. Neat ILs and their mixtures with molecular solvents are shown by ultra-broadband DRS to exhibit extremely complicated behaviour especially at frequencies in the THz region.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Chemistry and Physics
Publisher: International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
Copyright: ©2020 IUPAC & De Gruyter.
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