Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > In water as in love, likes can attract

This model of the guanidinium chloride salt (blue and silver) in solution shows carbon (yellow) and water (green) surrounding the cations and demonstrates cation-cation pairing.
This model of the guanidinium chloride salt (blue and silver) in solution shows carbon (yellow) and water (green) surrounding the cations and demonstrates cation-cation pairing.

Abstract:
At some point in elementary school you were shown that opposite charges attract and like charges repel. This is a universal scientific truth - except when it isn't. A research team led by Berkeley Lab chemist Richard Saykally and theorist David Prendergast, working at the Advanced Light Source (ALS), has shown that, when hydrated in water, positively charged ions (cations) can actually pair up with one another.

In water as in love, likes can attract

Berkeley, CA | Posted on September 19th, 2013

"Through a combination of X-ray spectroscopy, liquid microjets and first principles' theory, we've observed and characterized contact pairing between guanidinium cations in aqueous solution," Saykally says. "Theorists have predicted this cation-to-cation pairing but it has never been definitively observed before. If guanidinium cations can pair this way, then other similar cation systems probably can too."

Guanidinium is an ionic compound of hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon atoms whose salt - guanidinium chloride - is widely used by scientists to denature proteins for protein-folding studies. This practice dates back to the late 19th century when the Czech scientist Franz Hofmeister observed that cations such as guanidinium can pair with anions (negatively charged ions) in proteins to cause them to precipitate. The Hofmeister effect, which ranks ions on their ability to "salt-out" proteins, became a staple of protein research even though its mechanism has never been fully understood.

In 2006, Kim Collins of the University of Maryland proposed a "Law of Matching Water Affinities" to help explain "Hofmeister effects". Collins's proposal holds that the tendency of a cation and anion to form a contact pair is governed by how closely their hydration energies match, meaning how strongly the ions hold onto molecules of water. Saykally, who is a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab's Chemical Sciences Division and a professor of chemistry at the University of California Berkeley, devised a means of studying both the Law of Matching Water Affinities and Hofmeister effects. In 2000, he and his group incorporated liquid microjet technology into the high-vacuum experimental environment of ALS beamlines and used the combination to perform the first X-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements on liquid samples. This technique has since become a widely used research practice.

"The XAS spectrum is generally sensitive to the changes in the local solvation environment around each atom, including potential effects of ion-pairing," Saykally says. "However, the chemical information that one can extract from such experimental data alone is limited, so we interpret our spectra with a combination of molecular dynamics simulations and a first principles theory method."

Development of this first principles theory method was led by Prendergast, a staff scientist in the Theory of Nanostructures Facility at Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry. Computational resources were provided by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). The Molecular Foundry and NERSC, as well as the ALS, are all U.S. Department of Energy national user facilities hosted at Berkeley Lab.

With the liquid microjet technology, a sample rapidly flows through a fused silica capillary shaped to a finely tipped nozzle with an opening only a few micrometers in diameter. The resulting liquid beam travels a few centimeters in a vacuum chamber and is intersected by an X-ray beam then collected and condensed out. In analyzing their current results, which were obtained at ALS Beamline 8.0.1, the Berkeley Lab researchers concluded that the counterintuitive cation-cation pairing observed is driven by water-binding energy, as predicted by theory.

Orion Shih, a recent graduate of Saykally's research group, is the lead author of a paper describing this study in the Journal of Chemical Physics. The paper is titled "Cation-cation contact pairing in water: Guanidinium." Saykally is the corresponding author. Other co-authors are Alice England, Gregory Dallinger, Jacob Smith, Kaitlin Duffey, Ronald Cohen and Prendergast.

"We found that the guanidinium ions form strong donor hydrogen bonds in the plane of the molecule, but weak acceptor hydrogen bonds with the pi electrons orthogonal to the plane," Shih says. "When fluctuations bring the solvated ions near each other, the van der Waals attraction between the pi electron clouds squeezes out the weakly held water molecules, which move into the bulk solution and form much stronger hydrogen bonds with other water molecules. This release of the weakly interacting water molecules results in contact pairing between the guanidinium cations. We believe our observations may set a general precedent in which like charges attract becomes a new paradigm for aqueous solutions."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Lynn Yarris

510-486-5375

Copyright © DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

For more about Richard Saykally and his research group go here:

For more about Berkeley Labís Advanced Light Source go here:

For more about Berkeley Labís Molecular Foundry go here:

For more about NERSC go here:

Related News Press

News and information

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion July 23rd, 2017

The July 23 close fly-by of asteroid 2017 BS5 is explored in a Q&A with Dr. John S. Lewis, chief scientist at Deep Space Industries July 23rd, 2017

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information: Scientists use electron pulses to create and manipulate nanoscale magnetic excitations that can store data July 21st, 2017

Semiliquid chains pulled out of a sea of microparticles July 20th, 2017

Chemistry

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Tokyo Institute of Technology research: Antiaromatic molecule displays record electrical conductance July 19th, 2017

Harnessing light to drive chemical reactions July 19th, 2017

Carbon displays quantum effects July 13th, 2017

Physics

The first light atomic nucleus with a second face July 20th, 2017

Laboratories

Studying Argon Gas Trapped in Two-Dimensional Array of Tiny "Cages": Understanding how individual atoms enter and exit the nanoporous frameworks could help scientists design new materials for gas separation and nuclear waste remediation July 17th, 2017

News laser design offers more inexpensive multi-color output: Design can control color, intensity of light by varying cavity architecture July 11th, 2017

Argonne National Laboratoryís Continuous ALD Technology Licensed Exclusively to Forge Nano July 7th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion July 23rd, 2017

The first light atomic nucleus with a second face July 20th, 2017

Semiliquid chains pulled out of a sea of microparticles July 20th, 2017

Here's a tip: Indented cement shows unique properties: Rice University models reveal nanoindentation can benefit crystals in concrete July 20th, 2017

Discoveries

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information: Scientists use electron pulses to create and manipulate nanoscale magnetic excitations that can store data July 21st, 2017

The first light atomic nucleus with a second face July 20th, 2017

Semiliquid chains pulled out of a sea of microparticles July 20th, 2017

Announcements

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion July 23rd, 2017

The July 23 close fly-by of asteroid 2017 BS5 is explored in a Q&A with Dr. John S. Lewis, chief scientist at Deep Space Industries July 23rd, 2017

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information: Scientists use electron pulses to create and manipulate nanoscale magnetic excitations that can store data July 21st, 2017

Water

Bacteria-coated nanofiber electrodes clean pollutants in wastewater July 1st, 2017

Smart materials used in ultrasound behave similar to water, Penn chemists report June 16th, 2017

Plasmonics could bring sustainable society, desalination tech June 2nd, 2017

Using light to propel water : With new method, MIT engineers can control and separate fluids on a surface using only visible light April 25th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project