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Van Marum Colloquium: Solvent-solute relation in the double layer theory: from diluted solutions to solvent-in-salt systems to ionic liquids

Wednesday 28 June 2023
Gorlaeus Building
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden

Alexei Kornyshev graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (Research University of Nuclear Sciences) with a degree in theoretical nuclear physics. He matured at a scientist at Frumkin Institute in Moscow, where he did his PhD in Theoretical Physics (1974) and DSc in Chemistry (1986), having worked there till 1991. In 1992 he was invited to Research Centre Jülich where he then worked for 10 years leading a Theory Section in the Institute for Energy Materials and Processes, a position combined later with a Professorship of Theoretical Physics at the Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf. In 2002 he was offered a Chair of Chemical Physics at Imperial College London and since then works there.

His interests span widely in theoretical condensed matter chemical physics and its application to electrochemistry, biological physics, nanoscience, photonics and energy research, using methods of theoretical physics and computer simulations, and working in close collaboration with experimentalists. Recipient of many international and national awards and prizes (the latest one is the 2022 Gold Medal of the International Society of Electrochemistry), he is a Fellow of 5 learned societies, a Foreign Member of Royal Danish Academy of Science, and was and is on editorial boards of several physical and chemical journals. He is an author of over 350 original papers, 35 reviews, and 3 books.


Understanding the electrical double layer is one of the a cornerstones of electrochemistry: the distribution of electric field near the electrode was key for understanding the driving forces in electrochemical kinetics and electrocatalysis, and energy storage. Equally was that knowledge essential for all electrified interfaces, in biophysics, colloid science, tribology, sensing. With the development of nanotechnology, and fabrication of nanostructures electrodes, great interest was drawn to (i) lower dimensional situations and the behaviour of electrolytes in nanoconfinement; (ii) the effects caused by strong ion correlations in new electrolytic media, such as room temperature ionic liquids and solvent-in-salt systems. This talk will overview the progress in this field, highlighting many new findings, but also making ‘unexpected’ step back to the classical double layer system – metal/aqueous electrolyte interface, with a focus on the question: what is the role of molecular structure and correlations in aqueous solvent in the structure and related properties of the electrical double layer? I will show when the old, classical theory of the double layer works, and where its picture is expected to be completely different.


1. A.A. Kornyshev, E. Spohr, M.A. Vorotyntsev, Electrochemical Interface: At the border line
in: Encyclopedia of Electrochemistry 1, Eds. A.Bard et al., Wiley-VCH, New York, 33-132 (2002)
On-line version (2007)

2. A.A. Kornyshev, R. Qiao , Three-Dimensional Double Layers, J. Phys. Chem. C 118, 18285–18290 (2014)

3. M.V. Fedorov and A.A. Kornyshev, Ionic liquids at Electrified Interfaces, Chem. Rev. 114, 2978−3036 (2014)

4. S. Kondrat, G. Feng, F. Bresme, M. Urbakh, and A. A. Kornyshev, Theory and Simulations of Ionic Liquids in Nanoconfinement, Chem. Rev. (2023) DOI

5. L. Niu, T.Wu, M. Chen, L. Yang, J. Yang, Z. Wang, A.A. Kornyshev, H. Jiang, S. Bi, G. Feng,Conductive metal–organic frameworks for supercapacitors, Adv. Materials (2022) DOI

6. F. Bresme. A.A. Kornyshev, S. Perkin, M. Urbakh, Electrotuneable friction with ionic liquid lubricants, Nature Materials 21, 848-858 (2022)

7. J.G. Hedley, H. Berthoumieux, and A. A. Kornyshev, The Dramatic Effect of Water Structure on Hydration Forces and the Electrical Double Layer, Phys. Chem. C 127, 8429–8447 (2023) DOI

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