Capacitive deionization (CDI) is an emerging water desalination technique. In CDI, pairs of porous electrode capacitors are electrically charged to remove salt from brackish water present between the electrodes. We here present a novel experimental technique allowing measurement of spatially and temporally resolved salt concentration between the CDI electrodes. Our technique measures the local fluorescence intensity of a neutrally charged fluorescent probe which is collisionally quenched by chloride ions. To our knowledge, our system is the first to measure in situ and spatially resolved chloride concentration in a laboratory CDI cell. We here demonstrate good agreement between our dynamic measurements of salt concentration in a charging, millimeter-scale CDI system to the results of a modified Donnan porous electrode transport model. Further, we utilize our dynamic measurements to demonstrate that salt removal between our charging CDI electrodes occurs on a longer time scale than the capacitive charging time scales of our CDI cell. Compared to typical measurements of CDI system performance (namely, measurements of outflow ionic conductivity), our technique can enable more advanced and better-controlled studies of ion transport in CDI systems, which can potentially catalyze future performance improvements.
- mesoporous carbon