Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

J. Phys. Chem. C



First Page


DOI of Original Publication


This document is the unedited Author's version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in Journal of Physical Chemistry C, copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society after peer review. To access the final edited and published work see

Date of Submission

May 2022


Electric field effects on water interfacial properties abound, ranging from electrochemical cells to nanofluidic devices to membrane ion channels. On the nanoscale, spontaneous orientational polarization of water couples with field alignment, resulting in an asymmetric wetting behavior of opposing surfacesa field-induced analogue of a chemically generated Janus interface. Using atomistic simulations, we uncover a new and significant field polarity (sign) dependence of the dipolar- orientation polarization dynamics in the hydration layer. Applying electric fields across a nanoparticle, or a nanopore, can lead to close to 2 orders of magnitude difference in response times of water polarization at opposite surfaces. Typical time scales are within the O(10−1) to O(10) picosecond regime. Temporal response to the field change also reveals strong coupling between local polarization and interfacial density relaxations, leading to a nonexponential and in some cases, nonmonotonic response. This work highlights the surprisingly strong asymmetry between reorientational dynamics at surfaces with incoming and outgoing fields, which is even more pronounced than the asymmetry in static properties of a field-induced Janus interface.


© 2013 American Chemical Society

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