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Chasing Aqueous Biphasic Systems from simple salts by exploring the LiTFSI/LiCl/H2O phase diagram

revised on 26.02.2019, 22:12 and posted on 27.02.2019, 18:02 by Nicolas Dubouis, Chanbum Park, Michael Deschamps, Soufiane Abdelghani-Idrissi, Matej Kanduč, Annie Colin, Mathieu Salanne, Joachim Dzubiella, Alexis Grimaud, Benjamin Rotenberg
Aqueous Biphasic Systems (ABS), in which two aqueous phases with different compositions coexist as separate liquids, have first been reported over a century ago with polymer solutions. Recent observations of ABS forming from concentrated mixtures of inorganic salts and ionic liquids raise the fundamental question of how "different" the components of such mixtures should be for a liquid-liquid phase separation to occur. Here we show that even two monovalent salts sharing a common cation (lithium) but with different anions, namely LiCl and lithium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (LiTFSI), may result in the formation of ABSs over a wide range of compositions at room temperature. Using a combination of experimental techniques and molecular simulations, we analyze the coexistence diagram and the mechanism driving the phase separation, arising from the different anion sizes. The understanding and control of ABS may provide new avenues for aqueous-based battery systems.


ERC 771294

ANR 10-LABX-0076

ERC 646659

Solvenian Research Agency P1-0055

Mastering the electrochemical interfaces for developing improved water splitting electrocatalysts – MIDWAY

Agence Nationale de la Recherche

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Sorbonne Université



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest

Version Notes

Revised Version - 2 (February 2019)