Solvation effects in phase transitions in soft matter

Akira Onuki, Takeaki Araki, Ryuichi Okamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Phase transitions in polar binary mixtures can be drastically altered by even a small amount of salt. This is because the preferential solvation strongly depends on the ambient composition. Together with a summary of our research on this problem, we present some detailed results on the role of antagonistic salt composed of hydrophilic and hydrophobic ions. These ions tend to segregate at liquid-liquid interfaces and selectively couple to water-rich and oil-rich composition fluctuations, leading to mesophase formation. In our two-dimensional simulation, the coarsening of the domain structures can be stopped or slowed down, depending on the interaction parameter (or the temperature) and the salt density. We realize stripe patterns at the critical composition and droplet patterns at off-critical compositions. In the latter case, charged droplets emerge with considerable size dispersity in a percolated region. We also give the structure factors among the ions, accounting for the Coulomb interaction and the solvation interaction mediated by the composition fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number284113
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - Jul 20 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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