Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of KCl, NaCl, and CaCl2 solution/dipalmytoylphosphatidylcholine lipid interfaces were performed to analyze heterodyne-detected vibrational sum frequency generation (HD-VSFG) spectra in relation to the interfacial water structure. The present MD simulation well reproduces the experimental spectra and elucidates a specific cation effect on the interfacial structure. The K+, Na+, and Ca2+ cation species penetrate in the lipid layer more than the anions in this order, due to the electrostatic interaction with negative polar groups of lipid, and the electric double layer between the cations and anions cancels the intrinsic orientation of water at the water/lipid interface. These mechanisms explain the HD-VSFG spectrum of the water/lipid interface and its spectral perturbation by adding the ions. The lipid monolayer reverses the order of surface preference of the cations at the solution/lipid interface from that at the solution/air interface.

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