The polarized interface between quadrupolar insulators: Maxwell stress tensor, surface tension, and potential.

04 Jun 2019

The quadrupolar Maxwell electrostatic equations predict several qualitatively different results compared to Poisson's classical equation in their description of the properties of a dielectric interface. All interfaces between dielectrics possess surface dipole moment which results in a measurable surface potential jump. The surface dipole moment is conjugated to the bulk quadrupole moment density (the quadrupolarization) similarly to Gauss's relation between surface charge and bulk polarization. However, the classical macroscopic Maxwell equations completely neglect the quadrupolarization of the medium. Therefore, the electrostatic potential distribution near an interface of intrinsic dipole moment can be correctly described only within the quadrupolar macroscopic equations of electrostatics. They predict that near the polarized interface a diffuse dipole layer exists, which bears many similarities to the diffuse charge layer near a charged surface, in agreement with existing molecular dynamics simulation data. It turns out that when the quadrupole terms are kept in the multipole expansion of the laws of electrostatics, the solutions for the potential and the electric field are continuous functions at the surface. A well-defined surface electric field exists, interacting with the adsorbed dipoles. This allows for a macroscopic description of the surface dipole-surface dipole and the surface dipole-bulk quadrupole interactions. They are shown to have considerable contribution to the interfacial tension-of the order of tens of mN/m! To evaluate it, the Maxwell stress tensor in quadrupolar medium is deduced, including the electric field gradient action on the quadrupoles, as well as quadrupolar image force and quadrupolar electrostriction. The dependence of the interfacial tension on the external normal electric field (the dielectrocapillary curve) is predicted and the dielectric susceptibility of the dipolar double layer is related to the quadrupolarizabilities of the bulk phases and the intrinsic polarization of the interface. The coefficient of the dielectro-Marangoni effect (surface flow due to gradient of the normal electric field) is found. A model of the Langevin type for the surface dipole moment and the intrinsic surface polarizability is presented.