Molecular dynamics simulations of liquid-liquid interfaces in an electric field: The water-1,2-dichloroethane interface
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Reproduced from J. Chem. Phys. 153, 164714 (2020), with the permission of AIP Publishing.
The polarized interface between two immiscible liquids plays a central role in many technological processes. In particular, for electroanalytical and ion extraction applications, an external electric field is typically used to selectively induce the transfer of ionic species across the interfaces. Given that it is experimentally challenging to obtain an atomistic insight into the ion transfer process and the structure of liquid-liquid interfaces, atomistic simulations have often been used to fill this knowledge gap. However, due to the long-range nature of the electrostatic interactions and the use of 3D periodic boundary conditions, the use of external electric fields in molecular dynamics simulations requires special care. Here, we show how the simulation setup affects the dielectric response of the materials and demonstrate how by a careful design of the system it is possible to obtain the correct electric field on both sides of a liquid-liquid interface when using standard 3D Ewald summation methods. In order to prove the robustness of our approach, we ran extensive molecular dynamics simulations with a rigid-ion and polarizable force field of the water/1,2-dichloroethane interface in the presence of weak external electric fields.
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