Author(s) Niu, F.; Schulz, R.; Medina, A.Castañeda; Schmid, R.; Erbe, A.
Journal Phys Chem Chem Phys
Date Published 2017 May 31

The electrode potential dependence of the hydration layer on an n-Ge(100) surface was studied by a combination of in situ and operando electrochemical attenuated total reflection infrared (ATR-IR) spectroscopy and real space density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Constant-potential DFT calculations were coupled to a modified generalised Poisson-Boltzmann ion distribution model and applied within an ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) scheme. As a result, potential-dependent vibrational spectra of surface species and surface water were obtained, both experimentally and by simulations. The experimental spectra show increasing absorbance from the Ge-H stretching modes at negative potentials, which is associated with an increased negative difference absorbance of water-related OH modes. When the termination transition of germanium from OH to H termination occurs, the surface switches from hydrophilic to hydrophobic. This transition is fully reversible. During the switching, the interface water molecules are displaced from the surface forming a "hydrophobic gap". The gap thickness was experimentally estimated by a continuum electrodynamic model to be ≈2 Å. The calculations showed a shift in the centre of mass of the interface water by ≈0.9 Å due to the surface transformation. The resulting IR spectra of the interfacial water in contact with the hydrophobic Ge-H show an increased absorbance of free OH groups, and a decreased absorbance of strongly hydrogen bound water. Consequently, the surface transformation to a Ge-H terminated surface leads to a surface which is weakening the H-bond network of the interfacial water in contact.

DOI 10.1039/c6cp08908a
ISSN 1463-9084
Citation Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2017;19(21):1358513595.

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