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Investigating the Ubiquitous Presence of Nanometric Water Films on Surfaces
12 October 2021
When we speak of nanometric water films on surfaces we are speaking about a truly ubiquitous phenomenon in nature. All surfaces exposed to ambient conditions are covered by a thin film of water that affects or mediates surface chemistry, general physical-chemical processes on surfaces, and even solid–solid interactions.

We have investigated this phenomenon for over a decade by exploiting dynamic atomic force microscopy and have (1) described how these layers affect apparent height measurements, (2) analyzed the excitation of subharmonics, (3) investigated its effects on surface functionality over time (“aging”), (4) monitored and quantified the time-dependent wettability of several relevant surfaces such as highly oriented pyrolytic graphite and monolayer systems, and (5) developed high-resolution and highly stable modes of imaging. Here, we discuss these findings to elucidate the present and future of the field. We further provide a brief but general discussion of solvation and hydration layers in vacuum, liquid, and air that center around current controversies and discuss open possibilities in the field.


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Investigating the Ubiquitous Presence of Nanometric Water Films on Surfaces

Sergio Santos*, Carlo Alberto Amadei, Chia-Yun Lai, Tuza Olukan, Jin-You Lu, Josep Font, Victor Barcons, Albert Verdaguer*, and Matteo Chiesa*

J. Phys. Chem. C 2021, 125, 29, 15759–15772
Publication Date:June 25, 2021