Optical imaging of surface chemistry and dynamics in confinement

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Abstract

We imaged the interfacial structure and dynamics of water in a microscopically confined geometry, in three dimensions and on millisecond time scales, with a structurally illuminated wide-field second harmonic microscope. The second harmonic images reported on the orientational order of interfacial water, induced by charge-dipole interactions between water molecules and surface charges. The images were converted into surface potential maps. Spatially resolved surface acid dissociation constant (pKa,s) values were determined for the silica deprotonation reaction by following pH-induced chemical changes on the curved and confined surfaces of a glass microcapillary immersed in aqueous solutions. These values ranged from 2.3 to 10.7 along the wall of a single capillary because of surface heterogeneities. Water molecules that rotate along an oscillating external electric field were also imaged.

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