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Structure of Water in Nano-Slit

English title Structure of Water in Nano-Slit
Applicant van der Veen Friso
Number 135312
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Paul Scherrer Institut
Institution of higher education Paul Scherrer Institute - PSI
Main discipline Condensed Matter Physics
Start/End 01.09.2011 - 31.08.2014
Approved amount 172'457.00
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Keywords (4)

Water; Confinement; structure; X-ray diffraction

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Water is all around us in Nature. It seeps through sand and rock and is the most abundant substance in living organisms. Water generally ‘feels happy’ in narrow spaces, i.e., pores in matter. This is why one can build sand castles or why soil can store lots of water. We usually take this for granted, but in fact we understand little about it. Is confined water still water or does it turn into an ice-like state? Do the water molecules slow down when they are confined or do they move as freely as in the water of our vast oceans? These questions may sound far fetched, yet their answers make the difference between life and death.

We confine water between two flat mica surfaces at nanometer* distance and try to determine the positions of the molecules within the extremely narrow slit thus formed. This will tell us whether the molecules within the mica slit will line up like in a regiment of soldiers (‘ice-like’) or whether they move more freely like in bulk water. Mica is a mineral commonly found in geological formations, which makes our studies important for understanding the properties of water directly below our feet.

* 1 nanometer = 0.000000001 meter

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Name Institute

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
Density profile of water in nanoslit
Chodankar S, Perret E, Nygard K, Bunk O, Satapathy DK, Marzal RME, Balmer TE, Heuberger M, van der Veen JF (2012), Density profile of water in nanoslit, in EPL, 99(2), 26001-p1-26001-p5.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dr R. Espinosa-Marzal United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dr M. Heuberger (EMPA, ETH-Zürich) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
International Conference on Surface X-Ray and Neutron Scattering SXNS13 Talk given at a conference Ions and the structure of confined fluids - an X-ray reflectivity study 07.07.2014 Hamburg, Germany Liuzzi Simone;
Gordon Research Conference X-Ray Science 2013 Poster An X-ray reflectivity study of ionic hydration forces in nanoconfined fluids 04.11.2013 Stonhill College, Easton MA, United States of America van der Veen Friso; Liuzzi Simone;
MISSCA 2013 Poster An X-ray reflectivity study of ionic hydration forces in nanoconfined fluids 09.09.2013 Como, Italy Liuzzi Simone; van der Veen Friso;
SLS Symposium, Fluids and Soft Matter Individual talk Hydration forces and ion-ion correlations in confined fluids revealed by X-ray reflectivity 03.09.2013 PSI Villigen, Switzerland Liuzzi Simone;
Gordon Research Seminar X-Ray Science 2013 Talk given at a conference An X-ray reflectivity study of ionic hydration forces in nanoconfined fluids 03.08.2013 Stonehill College, Easton MA, United States of America Liuzzi Simone;
Swiss NanoConvention 2013 Poster Nanoconfined salt solutions: an X-ray study 23.05.2013 Basel, Switzerland van der Veen Friso; Liuzzi Simone;
Swiss Soft Days 10th Edition Talk given at a conference Ion specific effects on layering of nanoconfined salt solutions 04.03.2013 PSI Villigen, Switzerland Liuzzi Simone;
29th Annual Meeting of the Swiss Working Group on SAOG/GSSI Poster Ion specific influence on the structure of confined electrolytes 25.01.2013 Univ Fribourg-Perolles, Switzerland van der Veen Friso; Liuzzi Simone;
2012 PSI Summer School on Condensed Matter Research Poster The effect of surface ions on the structure of nanoscopically confined water 11.08.2012 Zug, Switzerland van der Veen Friso; Liuzzi Simone;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Exchange of knowledge with industry, ASML, in the area of photon sources 22.07.2013 PSI Villigen, Switzerland van der Veen Friso;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Synchrotron Lichtquelle Schweiz - Forschungsergebnisse German-speaking Switzerland 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
156667 Structure of Confined Salts and Ionic Liquids 01.10.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Extreme confinement of water affects its viscosity, transport properties and wetting behaviour. We address the following questions. How does water change its structure and ordering behaviour under confinement? Can these structural rearrangements explain the property changes? The aim of the proposed research is to experimentally determine the structure of water in a model confinement system: a nanometre-sized slit consisting of two opposing, atomically smooth mica membranes at sub-nanometre distance. The average density profile of water along the confinement direction will be investigated with the use of specular X-ray reflectivity. If extended to non-specular diffraction, our method will enable a full (3D) determination of the position of the molecules relative to the outermost atoms of the single-crystal mica surfaces. The confining mica surfaces will be prepared in different chemical and charged states, e.g., hydrophilic or hydrophobic, and their effects on the water density profile will be investigated. Of interest are also salt solutions, where confinement may induce an ordering of the hydrated ions. The confinement-induced ordering phenomena may shed light on phenomena as diverse as swelling of clay, frost heave, weathering phenomena, and ion transport through channels.
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