Physisorption of Hydroxide Ions from Aqueous Solution to a Hydrophobic Surface
We present results from detailed molecular dynamics simulations revealing a counterintuitive spontaneous physical adsorption of hydroxide ions at a water/hydrophobic interface. The driving force for the migration of the hydroxide ions from the aqueous phase is the preferential orientation of the water molecules in the first two water layers away from the hydrophobic surface. This ordering of the water molecules generates an electrical potential gradient that strongly and favorably interacts with the dipole moment of the hydroxide ion. These findings offer a physical mechanism that explains intriguing experimental reports indicating that the interface between water and a nonionic surface is negatively charged.