The electronic structure of Cu(2)O and CuO thin films grown on Cu(110) was characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). The various oxidation states, Cu(0), Cu(+), and Cu(2+), were unambiguously identified and characterized from their XPS and XAS spectra. We show that a clean and stoichiometric surface of CuO requires special environmental conditions to prevent loss of oxygen and contamination by background water. First-principles density functional theory XAS simulations of the oxygen K edge provide understanding of the core to valence transitions in Cu(+) and Cu(2+). A novel method to reference x-ray absorption energies based on the energies of isolated atoms is presented.
The structure of thin-film water on a BaF(2)(111) surface under ambient conditions was studied using x-ray absorption spectroscopy from ambient to supercooled temperatures at relative humidity up to 95%. No hexagonal ice-like structure was observed in spite of the expected templating effect of the lattice-matched (111) surface. The oxygen K-edge x-ray absorption spectrum of liquid thin-film water on BaF(2) exhibits, at all temperatures, a strong resemblance to that of high-density phases for which the observed spectroscopic features correlate linearly with the density. Surprisingly, the highly compressed, high-density thin-film liquid water is found to be stable from ambient (300 K) to supercooled (259 K) temperatures, although a lower-density liquid would be expected at supercooled conditions. Molecular dynamics simulations indicate that the first layer water on BaF(2)(111) is indeed in a unique local structure that resembles high-density water, with a strongly collapsed second coordination shell.
Thin-film water is ubiquitous in nature, occurring on virtually all surfaces exposed to the ambient environment. In particular, alkali halide salts below their deliquescence point are expected to be coated with water films from one molecular layer to a few nanometers thick. While salt ion mobility in thin-film water has been characterized in the literature, little is known about the chemistry occurring within these films. Here we investigate the surface chemistry change of a mixed bromine salt (KBr/KBrO(3)) using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, secondary electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. At 68% relative humidity, the Br(-) surface concentration was observed to deplete with increasing water vapor exposure time. Known bulk solution kinetics for the reaction of Br(-) + BrO(3)(-) has a second-order dependence on H(+) concentrations. However, in the present experiments there was no addition of an external acid. These results suggest that the pH and chemical reactions within thin-film water are uniquely differently from bulk solution. Because bromine chemistry in the atmosphere is strongly influenced by pH, these results have implications for the cycling of bromine where thin-film water is present.
Trace contaminants such as strong acids have been suggested to affect the thickness of the quasi-liquid layer at the ice/air interface, which is at the heart of heterogeneous chemical reactions between snowpacks or cirrus clouds and the surrounding air. We used X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and electron yield near edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) to probe the ice surface in the presence of HNO(3) formed from the heterogeneous hydrolysis of NO(2) at 230 K. We studied the nature of the adsorbed species at the ice/vapor interfaces as well as the effect of HNO(3) on the hydrogen bonding environment at the ice surface. The NEXAFS spectrum of ice with adsorbed HNO(3) can be represented as linear combination of the clean ice and nitrate solution spectrum, thus indicating that in the presence of HNO(3) the ice surface consists of a mixture of clean ice and nitrate ions that are coordinated as in a concentrated solution at the same temperature but higher HNO(3) pressures.
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