Nanoscopic diffusion of water on a topological insulator.
Townsend, Peter SM
Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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Tamtögl, A., Sacchi, M., Avidor, N., Calvo-Almazán, I., Townsend, P. S., Bremholm, M., Hofmann, P., et al. (2020). Nanoscopic diffusion of water on a topological insulator.. Nature communications, 11 (1), 278. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14064-7
The microscopic motion of water is a central question, but gaining experimental information about the interfacial dynamics of water in fields such as catalysis, biophysics and nanotribology is challenging due to its ultrafast motion, and the complex interplay of inter-molecular and molecule-surface interactions. Here we present an experimental and computational study of the nanoscale-nanosecond motion of water at the surface of a topological insulator (TI), Bi2Te3. Understanding the chemistry and motion of molecules on TI surfaces, while considered a key to design and manufacturing for future applications, has hitherto been hardly addressed experimentally. By combining helium spin-echo spectroscopy and density functional theory calculations, we are able to obtain a general insight into the diffusion of water on Bi2Te3. Instead of Brownian motion, we find an activated jump diffusion mechanism. Signatures of correlated motion suggest unusual repulsive interactions between the water molecules. From the lineshape broadening we determine the diffusion coefficient, the diffusion energy and the pre-exponential factor.
Blavatnik Foundation TU Graz Open Access Publishing Fund Aarhus University Research Foundation VILLUM FONDEN SPP1666 of the DFG (Grant No. HO 5150/1-2) FWF (Austrian Science Fund) within the projects J3479-N20 and P29641-N36 Ramón Areces foundation the Center of Materials Crystallography (CMC) Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF93)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14064-7
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/301293
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/