"The understanding of interfacial chemistry requires knowledge of interface properties at the atomic scale. Surface science studies provided microscopic details from surfaces in vacuum environment and electrochemists followed up to show that similar details might be obtained from electrode-electrolyte interfaces. For mineral-solution interfaces, however, our knowledge is still almost exclusively based on macroscopic observations. With the current project we take one step further toward a fundamental understanding of structure and bonding at oxide-liquid interfaces. For this purpose we will study the properties of water at the oxide-aqueous solution interface and its dependence on the chemical nature of different adsorbates, pH, and electrical potential. The latter can be applied because we are using metal-supported, single-crystalline oxide thin films as substrates. A combination of solid-liquid in-situ scanning tunnelling microscopy and sum-frequency generation spectroscopy together with ultrahigh vacuum-based analytical methods allows us to analyze adsorbate structure and chemical nature of the interface in detail. The structure-forming ability of adsobates will be inferred from vibrational relaxation studies. Finally, vibrational energy transfer from water into the adsorbate will provide details about intermolecular coupling at the interface."
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Funding SchemeERC-SG - ERC Starting Grant