Influence of ions and their solvation on the structure of water on metal surfaces

To understand electrochemical processes close to solid-liquid interfaces, it is necessary to investigate the influence of ions and their solvation on the structure of water on metal surfaces. The results can help to understand the process of solvation close to electrodes and, thus, be important for electrocatalytic applications. However, up to now only a few experiments can be found in literature describing solvation on an atomic scale.

In this project, we investigate the structure and dynamics of water and ions on an atomic scale with a commercially available STM 150 Aarhus from SPECS, which operates from 105 K up to 350 K with a scan speed of around 3 images per minute.

As a model for liquid water we use amorphous ice with its unordered structure, water close to the electrode interface is resembled by crystalline ice. Based on their ability to ionize to single charged ions on a metal surface, alkaline metals are used as prototype for positively charged ions. As models for negatively charged ions chlorine ions or sulfate ions are used. In combination with amorphous or crystalline ice, respectively, these differently charged ions of different size give insights on the process of solvation, as well as on their influence on the structure of water close to solid-liquid interfaces.

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