Effects of multivalent hexacyanoferrates and their ion pairs on water molecule dynamics measured with terahertz spectroscopy†
The valency of aqueous solutes plays a large role in determining the extent of ion–water dynamics, which can greatly influence the chemical and physical properties of solutions. In these experiments, broadband Fourier transform terahertz spectroscopy is used to probe perturbations to the low-frequency dynamics of water molecules by three different multivalent hexacyanoferrate salts. K3Fe(CN)6, K4Fe(CN)6 and Na4Fe(CN)6 were investigated as a function of concentration up to their solubility limits using spectral subtractions and fitting with damped harmonic lineshapes. Regions with subtle nonlinearities in amplitude with respect to solute concentration provide insight into ion-pairing events. The extent of nonlinearity suggests that ion pairs are major constituents in solution for all concentrations measured and is consistent with ion-pairing observed at millimolar concentrations by potentiometric and spectroscopic measurements. A lower estimate for the number of water molecules that are influenced by each ion is obtained from the damped harmonic fits. Values of 19, 28 and 25 water molecules with perturbed dynamics are obtained for KFe(CN)62−, KFe(CN)63− and NaFe(CN)63− ion pairs, respectively. These values represent dynamical perturbations into a second solvation shell and are consistent with the long-range structural effects observed in recent aqueous nanodrop spectroscopy experiments. Furthermore, the spectral absorptions for hexacyanoferrates are in agreement with a wide range of solutes studied previously using the developing methodology for interpreting terahertz spectra.