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Water Clustering on Nanostructured Iron Oxide Films

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University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison United States

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The adhesion of water to solid surfaces is characterized by the tendency to balance competing molecule-molecule and molecule-surface interactions. Hydroxyl groups form strong hydrogen bonds to water molecules and are known to substantially influence the wetting behavior of oxide surfaces, but it is not well-understood how these hydroxyl groups and their distribution on a surface affect the molecular-scale structure at the interface. We report a study of water clustering on a moire-structured iron oxide thin film with a controlled density of hydroxyl groups. While large amorphous monolayer islands form on the bare film, the hydroxylated iron oxide film acts as a hydrophilic nanotemplate, causing the formation of a regular array of ice-like hexametric nanoclusters. The formation of this ordered phase is localized at the nanometer scale with increasing water coverage, ordered and amorphous water are found to coexist at adjacent hydroxylated and hydroxyl-free domains of the moire structure.

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  • Physical Chemistry

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