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Anions Enhance Rare Earth Adsorption at Negatively Charged Surfaces

submitted on 05.04.2020, 23:56 and posted on 07.04.2020, 09:53 by Srikanth Nayak, Kaitlin Lovering, Wei Bu, Ahmet Uysal
Anions are expected to be repelled from negatively charged surfaces. At aqueous interfaces, however, ion-specific effects can dominate over direct electrostatic interactions. Using multiple in situ surface sensitive experimental techniques, we show that surface affinity of SCN- ions are so strong that they can adsorb at a negatively charged floating monolayer at the air/aqueous interface. This extreme example of ion-specific effects may be very important for understanding complex processes at aqueous interfaces, such as chemical separations of rare earth metals. Adsorbed SCN- ions at the floating monolayer increase the overall negative charge density, leading to enhanced trivalent rare earth adsorption. Surface sensitive X-ray fluorescence measurements show that the surface coverage of Lu3+ ions can be triple of the apparent surface charge of the floating monolayer in the presence of SCN-. Comparison to NO3- samples show that the effects are strongly dependent to the character of the anion, providing further evidence to ion-specific effects dominating over electrostatics.


U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Science, Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences, under contract DE-AC02-06CH11357.


Email Address of Submitting Author


Argonne National Laboratory


United States

ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Authors declare no competing financial interest.