Authors: Vanessa Quaranta, Matti Hellström, Jörg Behler, Jolla Kullgren, Pavlin D. Mitev, and Kersti Hermansson
Unraveling the atomistic details of solid/liquid interfaces, e.g., by means of vibrational spectroscopy, is of vital importance in numerous applications, from electrochemistry to heterogeneous catalysis. Water-oxide interfaces represent a formidable challenge because a large variety of molecular and dissociated water species are present at the surface. Here, we present a comprehensive theoretical analysis of the anharmonic OH stretching vibrations at the water/ZnO(10-10) interface as a prototypical case. Molecular dynamics simulations employing a reactive high-dimensional neural network potential based on density functional theory calculations have been used to sample the interfacial structures. In the second step, one-dimensional potential energy curves have been generated for a large number of configurations to solve the nuclear Schrödinger equation. We find that (i) the ZnO surface gives rise to OH frequency shifts up to a distance of about 4 Å from the surface; (ii) the spectrum contains a number of overlapping signals arising from different chemical species, with the frequencies decreasing in the order ν(adsorbed hydroxide) > ν(non-adsorbed water) > ν(surface hydroxide) > ν(adsorbed water); (iii) stretching frequencies are strongly influenced by the hydrogen bond pattern of these interfacial species. Finally, we have been able to identify substantial correlations between the stretching frequencies and hydrogen bond lengths for all species.
The Journal of Chemical Physics, 148, 241720 (2018);