Ion-specific hydration effects: Extending the Poisson-Boltzmann theory

Dan Ben-Yaakov, David Andelman*, Rudi Podgornik, Daniel Harries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


In aqueous solutions, dissolved ions interact strongly with the surrounding water and surfaces, thereby modifying solution properties in an ion-specific manner. These ion-hydration interactions can be accounted for theoretically on a mean-field level by including phenomenological terms in the free energy that correspond to the most dominant ion-specific interactions. Minimizing this free energy leads to modified Poisson-Boltzmann equations with appropriate boundary conditions. Here, we review how this strategy has been used to predict some of the ways ion-specific effects can modify the forces acting within and between charged interfaces immersed in salt solutions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)542-550
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Partial support from the Slovenian Research Agency through program P1-0055 (research project J1-0908 ), the Isreali-Slovene joint research project, the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) under grant no. 231/08 , and the US–Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) under grant no. 2006/055 is gratefully acknowledged. RP would like to thank the Aspen Center for Physics where parts of this work have been conceived during the workshop New Perspectives in Strongly Correlated Electrostatics in Soft Matter.


  • Electrostatic interactions
  • Forces between charged surfaces
  • Hydration forces
  • Ion specific interactions
  • Poisson-Boltzmann theory


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