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Structure and bonding at oxide-liquid interfaces
The understanding of the physical and chemical properties of interfaces requires knowledge of interface properties at the atomic scale. Surface science studies provided microscopic details from surfaces in vacuum environment and electrochemists followed up to show that similar details might be obtained from electrode-electrolyte interfaces. For mineral-solution interfaces, however, our knowledge is still almost exclusively based on macroscopic observations. Within this project, which is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) through a Starting Grant, we want to take one step further toward fundamental understanding of structure and bonding at oxide-liquid interfaces. We combine microscopy (electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy) and interface-selective vibrational spectroscopy (femtosecond sum frequency generation spectroscopy) as in-situ methods for studying solid-liquid interfaces with ultrahigh vacuum based preparation and characterization techniques to obtain detailed insight into the morphology, the properties of adsorbates and interfacial water, and energy dissipation processes at the interface between single-crystalline oxide surfaces (thin films) and aqueous solutions.