Identifying Water–Anion Correlated Motion in Aqueous Solutions through Van Hove Functions

Published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 2019

Abstract: Electrolyte solutions are ubiquitous in materials in daily use and in biological systems. However, the understanding of their molecular and ionic dynamics, particularly those of their correlated motions, are elusive despite extensive experimental, theoretical, and numerical studies. Here we report the real-space observations of the molecular/ionic-correlated dynamics of aqueous salt (NaCl, NaBr, and NaI) solutions using the Van Hove functions obtained by high-resolution inelastic X-ray scattering measurement and molecular dynamics simulation. Our results directly depict the distance-dependent dynamics of aqueous salt solutions on the picosecond time scale and identify the changes in the anion–water correlations. This study demonstrates the capability of the real-space Van Hove function analysis to describe the local correlated dynamics in aqueous salt solutions.