Nanoscopic diffusion of water on a topological insulator

Anton Tamtögl, Marco Sacchi, Nadav Avidor, Irene Calvo-Almazán, Peter S. M. Townsend, Martin Bremholm, Philip Hofmann, John Ellis, William Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The microscopic motion of water is a central question, but gaining experimental information about the interfacial dynamics of water in fields such as catalysis, biophysics and nanotribology is challenging due to its ultrafast motion, and the complex interplay of inter-molecular and molecule-surface interactions. Here we present an experimental and computational study of the nanoscale-nanosecond motion of water at the surface of a topological insulator (TI), Bi2Te3. Understanding the chemistry and motion of molecules on TI surfaces, while considered a key to design and manufacturing for future applications, has hitherto been hardly addressed experimentally. By combining helium spin-echo spectroscopy and density functional theory calculations, we are able to obtain a general insight into the diffusion of water on Bi2Te3. Instead of Brownian motion, we find an activated jump diffusion mechanism. Signatures of correlated motion suggest unusual repulsive interactions between the water molecules. From the lineshape broadening we determine the diffusion coefficient, the diffusion energy and the pre-exponential factor.
Original languageEnglish
Article number278
JournalNature Communications
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2020

Fingerprint

insulators
Water
water
Molecules
Nanotribology
Biophysics
Helium
Brownian movement
biophysics
molecules
Catalysis
Density functional theory
surface reactions
catalysis
Spectroscopy
Spectrum Analysis
echoes
diffusion coefficient
manufacturing
helium

Keywords

  • Topological insulator
  • Diffusion coefficient
  • Water sorption
  • Density functional theory
  • Spin echo experiments
  • Friction
  • Atom scattering
  • Atom surface interaction

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

Cite this

Tamtögl, A., Sacchi, M., Avidor, N., Calvo-Almazán, I., Townsend, P. S. M., Bremholm, M., ... Allison, W. (2020). Nanoscopic diffusion of water on a topological insulator. Nature Communications, 11(1), [278]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14064-7

Nanoscopic diffusion of water on a topological insulator. / Tamtögl, Anton; Sacchi, Marco; Avidor, Nadav; Calvo-Almazán, Irene; Townsend, Peter S. M.; Bremholm, Martin; Hofmann, Philip; Ellis, John; Allison, William.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 11, No. 1, 278, 14.01.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Tamtögl, A, Sacchi, M, Avidor, N, Calvo-Almazán, I, Townsend, PSM, Bremholm, M, Hofmann, P, Ellis, J & Allison, W 2020, 'Nanoscopic diffusion of water on a topological insulator' Nature Communications, vol. 11, no. 1, 278. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14064-7
Tamtögl A, Sacchi M, Avidor N, Calvo-Almazán I, Townsend PSM, Bremholm M et al. Nanoscopic diffusion of water on a topological insulator. Nature Communications. 2020 Jan 14;11(1). 278. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14064-7
Tamtögl, Anton ; Sacchi, Marco ; Avidor, Nadav ; Calvo-Almazán, Irene ; Townsend, Peter S. M. ; Bremholm, Martin ; Hofmann, Philip ; Ellis, John ; Allison, William. / Nanoscopic diffusion of water on a topological insulator. In: Nature Communications. 2020 ; Vol. 11, No. 1.
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