Dense ionic fluids Faraday Discussion

8 - 10 July 2024, London, United Kingdom

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Join us in London in July 2024 for this edition of the Faraday Discussion series. The Faraday Discussions are unique international discussion meetings that address current and emerging topics at the forefront of the physical sciences.
This meeting is for established and early-career scientists, postgraduate students and industrial researchers working on various aspects of dense ionic fluids. It will provide an ideal forum for cross-fertilisation of ideas and understanding between the distinct but adjacent communities working with different classes of dense ionic fluids and their different applications. On behalf of the organising committee, we look forward to welcoming you to London.

Tom Welton


Faraday Discussions have a special format where primary research papers written by the speakers are distributed to all participants before the meeting, and most of the meeting is devoted to discussing the papers. All delegates at the meeting, not just speakers, have the opportunity to make comments, ask questions, or present complementary or contradictory measurements and calculations during the discussion sessions. In addition, there is a dedicated poster session where further discussion takes place. The research papers and a record of the discussion are published in the journal Faraday Discussions.


The meeting will comprise the following four interrelated themes:

Structure and dynamics in dense ionic fluids
Dense ionic fluids known to be richly structured at the nanoscale, with features including short-range oscillations in cation and anion density, and solvophobic-driven assembly of nanostructures such as lamellar, sponge and bicontinuous phases. Nanostructure in pure ionic liquids has been well studied, however much less well understood is structure in ionic fluids with additional components e.g. neutral (polar or non-polar) solvent, or mixtures of ionic components, or oligomeric species. This is highly relevant for the understanding of many dense ionic fluids, including deep eutectic solvents, solvent-in-salt electrolytes, eutectic salt mixtures, and physiological mixtures of salts and osmolytes in water. Connected to this nanostructural complexity is strong variation in the dynamic properties of ionic fluids. Simulations have revealed that molecular and ionic species can experience many orders of magnitude difference in local relaxation times and thus diffusion coefficients are dramatically different for different species. Relaxation of structures in response to changes to electric field, mechanical stress, and other perturbations are important and not yet well charted. This session will focus on these new directions of structure and dynamics in dens ionic fluids, and the links between them.

Ionic fluids at equilibrium: thermodynamics, nanostructure, phase behaviour, activity
Dense ionic fluids are hard to describe thermodynamically, due to the complex nature of their equilibrium structure (nanostructure), difficulty in modelling free energy in dense Coulomb systems, and relative paucity of high quality experimental measurements of colligative/thermodynamic properties. Phase behaviour is often complex due to nanoscale
phase segregation, intermediate-range order, and glass formation. Multiple dynamic timescales in dense ionic fluids mean that many electrochemical techniques and dielectric spectroscopy remain challenging. Key challenges addressed in this session are the interpretation of activity coefficients (i.e. understanding non-ideality and excess free energy) in dense ionic fluids; the discussion of macroscopic or microscopic liquid-liquid phase segregation in dense ionic fluids; the concepts of ‘solvent’ and ‘ion’ in systems with long-lived ion-molecule coordination; eutectic behaviour and the definition of ‘deep eutectic solvents’. Points of discussion will include phase equilibria involving dense ionic liquids; activity coefficients in dense ionic fluids (including water activity for aqueous mixtures) and their molecular origin; nanostructure in dense ionic fluids including non-uniformity (nano-scale phase separation) and self-assembly.

Ionic fluids out of equilibrium: electrodeposition, dissolution, electron transfer, driving forces
The non-equilibrium behaviour of ionic fluid is crucial in many contexts, from electrochemical applications to energy harvesting, storage and conversion, or complex transport processes in bulk and confined colloidal or biological suspensions (see also Session 4). The response of dense ionic fluids to electric or magnetic fields, to mechanical perturbations or to concentration and temperature gradients is richer than that of dilute electrolytes and remains a great challenge on both the experimental and theoretical sides, in particular because transport processes are strongly coupled in these systems. Additional complexity arises from the reactivity of these fluids under electrochemical conditions, with electron transfers and dissolution/precipitation coupled to the transport of reactant and products. Addressing these issues at the interface between fundamental physics and chemistry would open the way to key progress in engineering applications.
Points of discussion will include how to describe collective and specific effects (beyond ideal and mean-field electrostatic theories) e.g. on the conductivity, rheology or diffusio- and thermo-osmotic/phoretic response of dense ionic fluids. We will also discuss how to characterize and understand the formation of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) on electrodes, which plays a crucial role in batteries. Electrodissolution results in high local metal ion concentrations exacerbated by high solution viscosity and variations in local pH can also bring about precipitation in the double layer. Diffusion of counterions to the electrode surface can also result in uncharged and insoluble compounds. Slow diffusion of ligands away from the electrode during electrodeposition can result in changes in local Lewis basicity resulting in speciation changes. Of particular interest is the relation between speciation and redox properties.

Interfaces and particles in dense ionic fluids: biological and colloidal systems spanning multiple lengthscales
Many functions and applications of dense ionic fluids involve their interfaces with particles; either colloidal or biological, and spanning scales from nanometres to micrometres. The perturbation of liquid structure and properties caused by the presence of the particle/interface will determine properties of the whole system, e.g. particle-particle interaction potentials, protein structure and interactions, oligomer and polymer structure. While this interplay is well understood in dilute electrolytes – for example the electrical double layer formed at charged colloid interfaces – it is less studied and understood for dense ionic fluids.
In this session we will open discussion of these topics with a wide scope: we hope to attract speakers covering inorganic and biological systems, multiple lengthscales, theory and experiment. Key challenges in the field include the role of solvation and liquid structure on protein interactions in halophilic environments; disjoining pressure between particles in multi-valent and asymmetric electrolytes; colloidal stability and colloidal crystallisation in dense ionic fluids.
Rob Atkin (Closing remarks lecture), University of Western Australia, Australia

Rob Atkin is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Western Australia (UWA). He obtained his PhD from the University of Newcastle (Australia) in 2003 and then completed a post doc at Bristol University (UK). In 2005 Rob was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Sydney. He returned to Newcastle in 2007 as a University of Newcastle Research Fellow, was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship in 2012, and promoted to Professor in 2015. In 2017 Rob moved to his current role at UWA. Rob has >200 career publications which have attracted >16000 citations. His research interests include ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents, liquid nanostructure in the bulk and at electrodes, surfactant and polymer adsorption, Stern layer structures and locally concentrated ionic liquid electrolytes.  Rob makes extensive use of facilities in the UWA Centre for microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (including video rate atomic force microscopy) and external radiation scattering facilities such as ANSTO and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source.

Margarida Costa-Gomes, CNRS / ENS Lyon, France

Margarida Costa Gomes obtained her Chemical Engineering degree and her PhD in
Experimental Thermodynamics in Lisbon, Portugal. She was a research associate at
Imperial College in London and a post-doctoral fellow at the Blaise Pascal University
in France before joining the CNRS in 1998 and becoming a CNRS Research Professor in 2010. She was awarded the CNRS Bronze Medal in 2003 and in 2004 she passed her Habilitation. Margarida was an invited researcher in 2008 at the Institute of Chemical and Biological Technology, Portugal and in 2014-15 she was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, where she maintained a position as research affiliate until 2020. Her interests concern the physical chemistry of liquids and solutions containing ionic species and the molecular and experimental thermodynamics of fluid phases, her research concerning chemistry, engineering and environmental aspects. She is driven by challenging scientific questions at the intersection of these fields, especially where they have relevance to societal outcomes or to innovative applications.

Karen Edler, Lund University, Sweden

Prof Karen Edler is Professor of Materials Chemistry in the Chemistry Department at Lund University, Sweden. Previously, she was Professor of Soft Matter and Associate Dean (Research) for the Science Faculty at the University of Bath. Edler worked at Bath in the Department of Chemistry since 1999, first as a postdoc, then a Dorothy Hodgkin Royal Society Research Fellow (2000-2004). In 2014 she was appointed as the first female professor in Chemistry at Bath. She moved to Lund in May 2022.
Prof Edler’s research focuses on understanding formation of sustainable functional hierarchically structured materials. This includes characterisation of solutes and self-assembly of amphiphiles in novel deep eutectic solvents, growth of inorganic nanoparticles in these new mixtures, novel biodegradable surfactant synthesis, sustainable Pickering emulsions and thickeners for aqueous formulations and nanodiscs for membrane protein & drug encapsulation. Her group uses self-assembly, driven by interactions between nanoscopic species (micelles, nanoparticles, polymers) in solution and at interfaces to form hierarchically ordered materials with structures from nm to cm. Understanding interactions between surfaces, nanoparticles and other species is central to control over structure and thus function. Time-resolved X-ray & neutron reflectivity, liquid diffraction and small angle scattering are used to study interactions & final structures, and a range of other complementary techniques are applied to determine formation mechanisms and structures across many length scales. Extensive collaborations with other groups in industry and academia apply the novel materials synthesised in her group to applications from photocatalysis, to drug delivery and “green” gels/emulsions.

Photograph taken by ​Kennet Ruona 

Kateryna Goloviznina, Sorbonne University, France

Kateryna Goloviznina is a post-doctoral researcher from the PHENIX laboratory, Sorbonne University. She obtained her Master degrees in V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (Ukraine) and the University of Lille (France) in 2018. Three years later, in the ENS Lyon (France), she defended her PhD thesis on the development of advanced molecular interaction models with explicit polarisation effects applied to ionic liquids, deep eutectic solvents, and electrolytes. Currently, she focuses her research on solvation effects in ionic fluids and works on the rational design of electrolytes for batteries and supercapacitors.

Alexis Grimaud, Boston College, United States

Dr. Alexis Grimaud received his PhD from the University of Bordeaux in 2011 and is currently an associate professor in the chemistry department at Boston College. Prior to that position, he served as CNRS Researcher from 2014 to 2022 at the Collège de France, Paris, France. Dr. His research efforts focus on understanding complex interfacial processes at the heart of electrochemical systems, including water electrolyzers and Li-ion batteries, for which he is developing and studying novel liquid electrolytes with tailored reactivity that he is using to allow intercalation into novel classes of materials. Dr. Grimaud’s achievements were recognized by the French Young Researcher award as well as the Young Researcher award from the Energy Division of the French Chemical Society.

Monika Schönhoff, University of Münster, Germany

Monika Schönhoff is a full professor for Polymers and Nanostructures at the Institute of Physical Chemistry at Münster University, Germany. She studied Physics at the University of Hannover and received her PhD at the University of Mainz in 1994 working on ultrathin organic films. As a postdoctoral researcher at University of Lund, Sweden, she turned to applying NMR methods to study colloidal systems and thin layers and consecutively built up an own research group at the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany, from 1998. At the University of Münster, Germany, she was appointed as associate professor of Technical Physical Chemistry in 2003, and became full professor of Polymers and Nanostructures in 2011. Her research interests include self-assembled materials, functional polymers and porous materials as well as electrolyte materials, including ionic liquids, polymer electrolytes and gel electrolytes. Her main interest is to study transport and dynamics of ions or other molecular entities in order to elucidate molecular processes in functional materials. To achieve this, her group is relying on NMR transport experiments, including multinuclear diffusion, spin relaxation and in particular electrophoretic NMR.

Yuki Yamada, University of Osaka, Japan

Yuki Yamada is currently a full professor at SANKEN, Osaka University in Japan. He majored electrochemistry and received his PhD from Kyoto University in 2010. The same year he moved to the University of Tokyo as an assistant professor and was promoted to a lecturer in 2018 and an associate professor in 2020. In 2021, he moved to SANKEN, Osaka University as a full professor. His current research interests focus on the development of new battery materials and reactions.

  • Claudio Margulis (Introductory lecture) University of Iowa, United States
  • Jean-François Dufrêche University of Montpelier, France
  • Joshua Sangoro Ohio State University, United States

Abstract Submission

Oral abstracts

Oral abstract submission is now closed.
Submit an oral/paper abstract if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation and associated published paper. A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. The oral/paper abstract should outline current research in progress. Authors of the selected abstracts must then submit a full research paper with a significant amount of new, unpublished work, by 19 February 2024.

The research papers are reviewed upon submission and are sent to all delegates 4 weeks before the meeting so they can be read in advance. At the meeting the presenting author is allowed five minutes to highlight the main points of their paper, and the rest of the time is for discussion. The discussion is recorded and will be published alongside the research paper in the Faraday Discussion Volume. 

Poster abstracts

Submit a poster abstract by 29 April 2024. Posters are displayed throughout the meeting and a poster session is held on the first evening. The poster prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student at the conference. 

Additional information

All oral and poster abstracts will be reviewed by the committee. Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 6 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author and indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for oral or poster presentation.
In-person registration includes:
  • Attendance at all scientific sessions
  • Attendance at the poster session
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting and lunch on all three days
  • Attendance at the poster drinks reception on 8 July
  • Attendance at the conference dinner on 9 July
  • Access to all journal paper pdf “pre-prints” before the meeting
  • Access to recordings of all scientific sessions post-event
  • ***A copy of the Faraday Discussion journal volume, issued approximately 5 months after the meeting, containing all papers presented at the meeting and accompanying discussion comments.
Please note accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

All prices quoted do not include VAT, which is added during registration at the prevailing rate in the UK
Early bird Standard
RSC member* £415+Vat £465+Vat
Non-member** £530+Vat £580+Vat
Student RSC member*** £205+Vat £255+Vat
Student non-member*** £255+Vat £305+Vat
Accompanying person £125+Vat £125+Vat

Virtual registration includes:
  • ​Live access to all scientific sessions
  • Access to all journal paper pdf “pre-prints” before the meeting
  • Access to recordings of all scientific sessions post-event
  • ***A copy of the Faraday Discussion journal volume, issued approximately 5 months after the meeting, containing all papers presented at the meeting and accompanying discussion comments.
All prices quoted do not include VAT, which is added during registration at the prevailing rate in the UK
RSC member* £130+Vat
Non-member** £155+Vat
Student RSC member*** £70+Vat
Student non-member*** £95+Vat

*If you are a Royal Society of Chemistry member and wish to register for this meeting, please select the member option on the online registration page. You will need to enter your membership number.

**For non-member registrants, affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2024 is available, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event. 

***A copy of the Faraday Discussion journal volume containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 5 months after the meeting) is not included in the student registration fee. Students may purchase a copy of the volume at less than half price, during the registration process or on site at the meeting. 

Student delegates 

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the Discussion, a reduced conference fee is available for students. This fee applies to those undertaking a full-time course for a recognised degree or a diploma at a university or equivalent institution.

A copy of the Faraday Discussion journal volume containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 5 months after the meeting) is not included in the student registration fee. Students may purchase a copy of the volume at less than half price, during the registration process or on site at the meeting.

Accompanying person

If you would like to bring a guest to the conference, this can be done during the registration process. There will be an additional charge, which will include all lunches, refreshments and the conference dinner. The fee does not include attendance at any scientific sessions, journal paper pre-prints or the journal volume.


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