Publications / Journal Article

Electrical double layers and differential capacitance in molten salts from density functional theory

Frischknecht, Amalie F.; Parks, Michael L.

Classical density functional theory (DFT) is used to calculate the structure of the electrical double layer and the differential capacitance of model molten salts. The DFT is shown to give good qualitative agreement with Monte Carlo simulations in the molten salt regime. The DFT is then applied to three common molten salts, KCl, LiCl, and LiKCl, modeled as charged hard spheres near a planar charged surface. The DFT predicts strong layering of the ions near the surface, with the oscillatory density profiles extending to larger distances for larger electrostatic interactions resulting from either lower temperature or lower dielectric constant. In conclusion, overall the differential capacitance is found to be bell-shaped, in agreement with recent theories and simulations for ionic liquids and molten salts, but contrary to the results of the classical Gouy-Chapman theory.