A phenomenological model for interfacial water near hydrophilic polymers

A. Earls, M. C. Calderer, M. Desroches, A. Zarnescu, S. Rodrigues

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1 Scopus citations


We propose a minimalist phenomenological model for the 'interfacial water' phenomenon that occurs near hydrophilic polymeric surfaces. We achieve this by combining a Ginzburg-Landau approach with Maxwell's equations which leads us to a well-posed model providing a macroscopic interpretation of experimental observations. From the derived governing equations, we estimate the unknown parameters using experimental measurements from the literature. The resulting profiles of the polarization and electric potential show exponential decay near the surface, in qualitative agreement with experiments. Furthermore, the model's quantitative prediction of the electric potential at the hydrophilic surface is in excellent agreement with experiments. The proposed model is a first step towards a more complete parsimonious macroscopic model that will, for example, help to elucidate the effects of interfacial water on cells (e.g. neuronal excitability), the effects of infrared neural stimulation or the effects of drugs mediated by interfacial water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number355102
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 31 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
S R and M D are grateful to Professor Vera Maura Fernandes de Lima for very insightful discussions on interfacial water. S R and A Z acknowledge support from Ikerbasque (The Basque Foundation for Science). A E, S R and A Z acknowledge the support of the Basque Government through the BERC 2018–2021 program and the Spanish State Research Agency through BCAM Severo Ochoa excellence accreditation SEV-2017-0718 and through Project RTI2018-093860-B-C21 funded by (AEI/FEDER, UE) and acronym ‘MathNEURO’. M D and S R acknowledge the support of Inria via the Associated Team ‘NeuroTransSF’. A Z acknowledges the support of Project PID2020-114189RB-I00, acronym ‘LICI’ funded by Agencia Estatal de Investigación (PID2020-114189RB-I00/AEI/10.13039/501100011033).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • exclusion zone
  • hydrophilic polymers
  • interfacial water

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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