Optical Diagnostics of Supercritical CO2 and CO2-Ethanol Mixture in the Widom Delta

E Mareev and T Semenov and A Lazarev and N Minaev and A Sviridov and F Potemkin and V Gordienko, MOLECULES, 25, 5424 (2020).

DOI: 10.3390/molecules25225424

The supercritical CO2 (scCO(2)) is widely used as solvent and transport media in different technologies. The technological aspects of scCO(2) fluid applications strongly depend on spatial-temporal fluctuations of its thermodynamic parameters. The region of these parameters' maximal fluctuations on the p-T (pressure-temperature) diagram is called Widom delta. It has significant practical and fundamental interest. We offer an approach that combines optical measurements and molecular dynamics simulation in a wide range of pressures and temperatures. We studied the microstructure of supercritical CO2 fluid and its binary mixture with ethanol in a wide range of temperatures and pressures using molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. MD is used to retrieve a set of optical characteristics such as Raman spectra, refractive indexes and molecular refraction and was verified by appropriate experimental measurements. We demonstrated that in the Widom delta the monotonic dependence of the optical properties on the CO2 density is violated. It is caused by the rapid increase of density fluctuations and medium-sized (20-30 molecules) cluster formation. We identified the correlation between cluster parameters and optical properties of the media; in particular, it is established that the clusters in the Widom delta acts as a seed for clustering in molecular jets. MD demonstrates that the cluster formation is stronger in the supercritical CO2-ethanol mixture, where the extended binary clusters are formed; that is, the nonlinear refractive index significantly increased. The influence of the supercritical state in the cell on the formation of supersonic cluster jets is studied using the Mie scattering technique.

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