Multiscale Modeling of Aqueous Electric Double Layers
Maximilian Becker, Philip Loche, Majid Rezaei, Amanuel Wolde-Kidan, Yuki Uematsu, Roland R. Netz, and Douwe Jan Bonthuis – 2023
From the stability of colloidal suspensions to the charging of electrodes, electric double layers play a pivotal role in aqueous systems. The interactions between interfaces, water molecules, ions and other solutes making up the electrical double layer span length scales from Ångströms to micrometers and are notoriously complex. Therefore, explaining experimental observations in terms of the double layer’s molecular structure has been a long-standing challenge in physical chemistry, yet recent advances in simulations techniques and computational power have led to tremendous progress. In particular, the past decades have seen the development of a multiscale theoretical framework based on the combination of quantum density functional theory, force-field based simulations and continuum theory. In this Review, we discuss these theoretical developments and make quantitative comparisons to experimental results from, among other techniques, sum-frequency generation, atomic-force microscopy, and electrokinetics. Starting from the vapor/water interface, we treat a range of qualitatively different types of surfaces, varying from soft to solid, from hydrophilic to hydrophobic, and from charged to uncharged.