Specific ions modulate diffusion dynamics of hydration water on lipid membrane surfaces

Jinsuk Song, John Franck, Philip Pincus, Mahn Won Kim, Songi Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Effects of specific ions on the local translational diffusion of water near large hydrophilic lipid vesicle surfaces were measured by Overhauser dynamic nuclear polarization (ODNP). ODNP relies on an unpaired electron spin-containing probe located at molecular or surface sites to report on the dynamics of water protons within ∼10 Å from the spin probe, which give rise to spectral densities for electron-proton cross-relaxation processes in the 10 GHz regime. This pushes nuclear magnetic resonance relaxometry to more than an order of magnitude higher frequencies than conventionally feasible, permitting the measurement of water moving with picosecond to subnanosecond correlation times. Diffusion of water within ∼10 Å of, i.e., up to ∼3 water layers around the spin probes located on hydrophilic lipid vesicle surfaces is ∼5 times retarded compared to the bulk water translational diffusion. This directly reflects on the activation barrier for surface water diffusion, i.e., how tightly water is bound to the hydrophilic surface and surrounding waters. We find this value to be modulated by the presence of specific ions in solution, with its order following the known Hofmeister series. While a molecular description of how ions affect the hydration structure at the hydrophilic surface remains to be answered, the finding that Hofmeister ions directly modulate the surface water diffusivity implies that the strength of the hydrogen bond network of surface hydration water is directly modulated on hydrophilic surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2642-2649
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 12 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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