Acidification of reverse micellar nanodroplets by atmospheric pressure CO2.

Journal of the American Chemical Society

PubMedID: 21506532

Levinger NE, Rubenstrunk LC, Baruah B, Crans DC. Acidification of reverse micellar nanodroplets by atmospheric pressure CO2. J Am Chem Soc. 2011;133(18):7205-14.
Water absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide lowers the solution pH due to carbonic acid formation. Bulk water acidification by CO(2) is well documented, but significantly less is known about its effect on water in confined spaces. Considering its prominence as a greenhouse gas, the importance of aerosols in acid rain, and CO(2)-buffering in cellular systems, surprisingly little information exists about the absorption of CO(2) by nanosized water droplets. The fundamental interactions of CO(2) with water, particularly in nanosized structures, may influence a wide range of processes in our technological society. Here results from experiments investigating the uptake of gaseous CO(2) by water pools in reverse micelles are presented. Despite the small number of water molecules in each droplet, changes in vanadium probes within the water pools, measured using vanadium-51 NMR spectroscopy, indicate a significant drop in pH after CO(2) introduction. Collectively, the pH-dependent vanadium probes show CO(2) dissolves in the nanowater droplets, causing the reverse micelle acidity to increase.