Bromide ions create ripples in semiclathrate hydrates, says Study

DN Bureau

The way water molecules behave in proton conducting materials is critical for understanding and exploiting their properties. Read further on Dynamite News:

Representational image
Representational image

Osaka : The way water molecules behave in proton conducting materials is critical for understanding and exploiting their properties. This entails being able to examine very quick photos to detect changes in water motion. Osaka University researchers used quasi-elastic neutron scattering (QENS) to investigate semiclathrate hydrate crystals. Their findings have been published in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

Semiclathrate hydrates have water molecule frameworks that house other molecules or ions as ‘guests’ in their structures. The overall properties of the framework can therefore be controlled and tailored to particular requirements by introducing different guests.

However, some of the best proton conductors are highly acidic solutions and are difficult to be handled. Solid electrolyte alternatives are therefore needed. Tetra-n-butylammonium bromide (TBAB) semiclathrate hydrate is known to be a promising solid electrolyte, but the mechanism behind its performance has been unclear.

The researchers took a close look at the water molecule dynamics in TBAB semiclathrate hydrate using QENS. This allowed motions of the water molecules to be captured over much shorter periods than have been achieved with other techniques, providing a clearer picture of what is happening.

“The transfer of protons in the semiclathrate hydrate is suspended by the water molecules,” explains study lead author Jin Shimada. “The way the water molecules then reorient—their reorientation motion—then tells us about what might be affecting the conduction.”

QENS showed that water molecules in the crystal reorientate themselves very rapidly in much shorter times than have previously been measured. In addition, the energy needed to prompt the change is consistent with that needed to break a hydrogen bond, the type of interaction that occurs between the guest ions and the water molecules.

It is believed that the large bromide ion that forms part of TBAB activates the water to behave as it would around bromide in aqueous solution.

“The insight we have gained into TBAB semiclathrate hydrate provides an excellent grounding for future innovation,” says senior author Takeshi Sugahara. “We believe the findings will contribute to the development of batteries and thermal storage materials." (ANI)

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