Conditional equilibrium constants in multicomponent heterogeneous adsorption: The conditional affinity spectrum
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The concept of conditional stability constant is extended to the competitive binding of small molecules to heterogeneous surfaces or macromolecules via the introduction of the conditional affinity spectrum (CAS). The CAS describes the distribution of effective binding energies experienced by one complexing agent at a fixed concentration of the rest. We show that, when the multicomponent system can be described in terms of an underlying affinity spectrum [integral equation (IE) approach], the system can always be characterized by means of a CAS. The thermodynamic properties of the CAS and its dependence on the concentration of the rest of components are discussed. In the context of metal/proton competition, analytical expressions for the mean (conditional average affinity) and the variance (conditional heterogeneity) of the CAS as functions of pH are reported and their physical interpretation discussed. Furthermore, we show that the dependence of the CAS variance on pH allows for the analytical determination of the correlation coefficient between the binding energies of the metal and the proton. Nonideal competitive adsorption isotherm and Frumkin isotherms are used to illustrate the results of this work. Finally, the possibility of using CAS when the IE approach does not apply (for instance, when multidentate binding is present) is explored. © 2006 American Institute of Physics.