Attraction between neutral dielectrics mediated by multivalent ions in an asymmetric ionic fluid

Matej Kanduč, Ali Naji, Jan Forsman, Rudolf Podgornik
2012 Journal of Chemical Physics  
We study the interaction between two neutral plane-parallel dielectric bodies in the presence of a highly asymmetric ionic fluid, containing multivalent as well as monovalent (salt) ions. Image charge interactions, due to dielectric discontinuities at the boundaries, as well as effects from ion confinement in the slit region between the surfaces are taken fully into account, leading to image-generated depletion attraction, ion correlation attraction and steric-like repulsive interactions. We
more » ... estigate these effects by employing a combination of methods including explicit-ion and implicit-ion Monte-Carlo simulations, as well as an effective interaction potential analytical theory. The latter incorporates strong ion-image charge correlations, which develop in the presence of high valency ions in the mixture. We show that the implicit-ion simulations and the proposed analytical theory can describe the explicit simulation results on a qualitative level, while excellent quantitative agreement can be obtained for sufficiently large monovalent salt concentrations. The resultant attractive interaction between the neutral surfaces is shown to be significant, as compared with the usual van der Waals interactions between semi-infinite dielectrics, and can thus play a significant role at the nano scale.
doi:10.1063/1.4763472 pmid:23145739 fatcat:ijuqonae65ddjnisnu3ysspnty