• Ultrafast Vibrational Spectroscopy and Dynamics of Water at Interfaces

      Borguet, Eric; Levis, Robert J.; Strongin, Daniel R.; Lyyra, A. Marjatta (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      Over the past two decades, vibrational sum-frequency generation (VSFG) has been applied as a versatile technique for probing the structure and dynamics of molecules at surfaces and interfaces. The excellent surface specificity of the SFG allows for probing different kinds of liquid interfaces with no or negligible contribution from adjacent and much deeper bulk phase. VSFG spectroscopy has provided evidence that the structure of the water at interfaces is different from the bulk. With the ultrafast pulses, VSFG can also be used as a probe of ultrafast vibrational dynamics at interfaces. However, apart from a few pioneering studies, the extension of VSFG into time domain has not been explored extensively. Here VSFG is used as a probe of ultrafast vibrational dynamics of water at silica interfaces. Silica is an excellent model system for the solid phase where one can systematically vary the surface charge via bulk pH adjustment. The extension of the surface electric field, the interfacial thickness and surface accumulation of ions at a charged silica surface were studied using IR pump-VSFG probe spectroscopy. A vibrational lifetime (T1) of about 250 fs, similar to bulk H2O, was observed for the O-H stretch of H2O/silica interface when the silica surface is negatively charged. At the neutral surface, where the thickness of interfacial water is smaller than at the charged surface, the vibrational lifetime of O-H stretch becomes more than two times longer (T1~ 600 fs) due to the decreased number of neighboring water molecules, probed by SFG. The fast T1 at negatively charged surface begins to slow down by screening of the penetration of surface electric field via adding salt which suggests the primary reason for similar vibrational dynamics of water at charged interface with bulk water is the penetration of electric field. By decoupling of OH of HDO in D2O, a frequency dependent vibrational lifetime is observed with faster T1 at the red compared to the blue side of the hydrogen bond spectral region. This correlates with the redshift of the SFG spectra with increasing charged surface and is consistent with a theoretical model that relates the vibrational lifetime to the strength of the hydrogen bond network.