Water is the most important liquid on Earth because life is impossible without it. Numerous chemical and biological processes take place in the aqueous environment, such as protein folding or micelle formation. These processes are extremely complex and involve millions of molecules, making them difficult to analyze at the microscopic level. Therefore, it is very practical to find simpler systems in which we can observe such mechanisms.
In focus of this research is the formation of new objects, i.e. clusters in liquid aqueous and other mixtures, with emphasis on their dynamical properties. Type of systems we study are aqueous solutions of various alcohols (methanol, ethanol, propanol, iso-propanol, etc.). It is known that alcohol molecules form clusters in water, but it is not clear how long these clusters live, how the dynamics of water and alcohol molecules in the mixture change and how cluster formation is affected, for example, by temperature or pressure. Our goal is to answer these and many other questions.
In the research we use Molecular Dynamics simulations, which have proven to be an ideal tool to analyze the microscopic properties of systems in the liquid state. One of the goals of the project is also to develop a theory related to dynamical processes in these systems.
Several publications have emerged from our project so far. Their full list is available at the link: http://projekti.pmfst.unist.hr/dinamis/.
Collaboration with Aurelien Perera, PhD, from the Sorbonne University in Paris has been active for several years now. We have recently started a new collaboration with Katsura Nishiyama, professor at Meijo University in Nagoya. A. Perera and prof. K. Nishiyama also visited us at the beginning of 2020.
One doctoral student, Ivo Jukić, is employed on the project. He received a grant from the Government of the French Republic and is now enrolled in a double doctorate study at the Sorbonne University in Paris and the University of Split. Along with Ivo Jukić and Principal Investigator Bernarda Lovrinčević, Martina Požar, PhD, is also associated to the project.
The results of the project are regularly presented on the web and social networks. Educational films are available on the Youtube channel of the Faculty of Science in Split (vibration of urea in water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyG2BmzMJY4, vibration of benzene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9fkVPc6V50, vibration of carbon tetrachloride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFTvLIG0uuY, vibration of acetone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od98Ww7BpUc).