How Confined Protons Migrate

When less than two nanometers of space is available, there is a traffic jam in the proton transport network.

Protons in aqueous solution can usually migrate very quickly – much faster compared to other ions. However, this only applies when they are in a space greater than two nanometers, as a study from Ruhr University-Bochum and the University of California Berkeley shows. In confined spaces the so-called Grotthuss mechanism no longer works, in which protons diffuse faster than ions. The results described by the team of the Bochum Excellence Cluster Ruhr Explores Solvation, RESOLV for short, together with colleagues of the sister research network CALSOLV in Berkeley were published in the journal Angewandte Chemie on September 3rd, 2021. The reviewers rated the results as a Highlight Paper (Top 10%).

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