Harald Kirsch, Jonas Wirth, Yujin Tong, Martin Wolf, Peter Saalfrank, and R. Kramer Campen:
J. Phys. Chem. C 118 (25), 13623–13630 (2014), pp. 8;
α-Al2O3 surfaces are common in both engineered applications and the environment. Much prior work indicates that their properties – e.g. reactivity, polarity and charge – change dramatically on interaction with water. Perhaps the simplest question that can be asked of α-Al2O3/water interaction is how a single water molecule interacts with the most stable α-Al2O3 surface: the α-Al2O3(0001). Over the last fifteen years a series of theoretical studies have found that water dissociatively adsorbs on α-Al2O3(0001) through two channels. However to our knowledge no experimental evidence of these dissociation pathways has appeared. By combining sample preparation via supersonic molecular beam dosing, sample characterization via coherent, surface specific vibrational spectroscopy and electronic structure theory we report the first experimental observation of reaction products of each, theoretically predicted, dissociation channel. These results thus overcome a fifteen year old experiment/theory disconnect and make possible a variety of intriguing experiments that promise to provide significant new insights into water/Al2O3 and water/oxide interaction more generally.
The original publication is available by link DOI: 10.1021/jp502106t