Water at surfaces and interfaces: From molecules to ice and bulk liquid
The structure and growth of water films on surfaces is reviewed, starting from single molecules to two-dimensional wetting layers, and liquid interfaces. This progression follows the increase in temperature and vapor pressure from a few degrees Kelvin in ultra-high vacuum, where Scanning Tunneling and Atomic Force Microscopies (STM and AFM) provide crystallographic information at the molecular level, to ambient conditions where surface sensitive spectroscopic techniques provide electronic structure information. We show how single molecules bind to metal and non-metal surfaces, their diffusion and aggregation. We examine how water molecules can be manipulated by the STM tip via excitation of vibrational and electronic modes, which trigger molecular diffusion and dissociation. We review also the adsorption and structure of water on non-metal substrates including mica, alkali halides, and others under ambient humid conditions. We finally discuss recent progress in the exploration of the molecular level structure of solid-liquid interfaces, which impact our fundamental understanding of corrosion and electrochemical processes.
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