In Situ Observation of the Structure of Crystallizing Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate Solutions with Terahertz Transmission Spectroscopy

Qi Li, Johanna Kölbel, Margaret P. Davis, Timothy M. Korter, Andrew D. Bond, Terrence Threlfall, J. Axel Zeitler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy in a transmission geometry combined with visual analysis was used to investigate the crystallization process of MgSO4solution. Careful spectral analysis of both a feature at 1.6 THz and the overall magnitude of absorption allowed the extraction of information about the liquid phase before and during crystallization, aiding the investigation of solvation dynamics and the behavior of molecular species at phase boundaries. The method was reproducibly applied to a number of measurements on a series of solutions of three chosen concentrations at different temperatures. When increasing temperature at the end of the measurement, the dissolution of crystals was observed as well. The temperature-dependent absorption data of the semicrystalline systems were converted to the solvent concentrations using a recently developed method. Solutions of a series of concentrations were also investigated in the temperature range of 4-25 °C. The results were compared to the theoretical calculated values, and the consistent differences proved the existence of a hydration shell around the salt ions whose behavior is different from bulk water. Future work will focus on triggering nucleation at specific positions in order to study the very beginning of the crystallization process. MgSO4heptahydrate is used as a model system in this study, while the concept and the setup can be applied to other systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3961-3972
Number of pages12
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Volume22
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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