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Pure Appl. Chem., 2007, Vol. 79, No. 6, pp. 1135-1151

Solvation in pure and mixed solvents: Some recent developments

Omar A. El Seoud

Instituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, C.P. 26077, 05513-970, São Paulo, S.P., Brazil

Abstract: The effect of solvents on the spectra, absorption, or emission of substances is called solvatochromism; it is due to solute/solvent nonspecific and specific interactions, including dipole/dipole, dipole-induced/dipole, dispersion interactions, and hydrogen bonding. Thermo-solvatochromism refers to the effect of temperature on solvatochromism. The molecular structure of certain substances, polarity probes, make them particularly sensitive to these interactions; their solutions in different solvents have distinct and vivid colors. The study of both phenomena sheds light on the relative importance of the solvation mechanisms. This account focuses on recent developments in solvation in pure and binary solvent mixtures. The former has been quantitatively analyzed in terms of a multiparameter equation, modified to include the lipophilicity of the solvent. Solvation in binary solvent mixtures is complex because of the phenomenon of "preferential solvation" of the probe by one component of the mixture. A recently introduced solvent exchange model allows calculation of the composition of the probe solvation shell, relative to that of bulk medium. This model is based on the presence of the organic solvent (S), water (W), and a 1:1 hydrogen-bonded species (S-W). Solvation by the latter is more efficient than by its precursor solvents, due to probe/solvent hydrogen-bonding and hydrophobic interactions. Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is an exception, because the strong DMSO/W interactions probably deactivate the latter species toward solvation. The relevance of the results obtained to kinetics of reactions is briefly discussed by addressing temperature-induced desolvation of the species involved (reactants and activated complexes) and the complex dependence of kinetic data (observed rate constants and activation parameters) in binary solvent mixtures on medium composition.