Glasslike behavior in aqueous electrolyte solutions

D.A. Turton, J. Hunger, G. Hefter, R. Buchner, K. Wynne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


When salts are added to water, generally the viscosity increases, suggesting that the ions increase the strength of the water's hydrogen-bond network. However, infrared pump-probe measurements on electrolyte solutions have found that ions have no influence on the rotational dynamics of water molecules, implying no enhancement or breakdown of the hydrogen-bond network. Here, we report optical Kerr effect and dielectric relaxation spectroscopic measurements, which have enabled us to separate the effects of rotational and transitional motions of the water molecules. These data show that electrolyte solutions behave like a supercooled liquid approaching a glass transition in which rotational and translational molecular motions are decoupled. It is now possible to understand previously conflicting viscosity data, nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation, and ultrafast infrared spectroscopy in a single unified picture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161102-1
Number of pages161101
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2008


  • dielectric relaxation
  • electrolytes
  • glass transition
  • high-speed optical techniques
  • hydrogen bonds
  • infrared spectra
  • nuclear magnetic resonance
  • optical Kerr effect
  • viscosity
  • water


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