Structure, Polarization, and Sum Frequency Generation Spectrum of Interfacial Water on Anatase TiO 2

Marcos F. Calegari Andrade, Hsin Yu Ko, Roberto Car, Annabella Selloni

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69 Scopus citations


The photocatalytic activity of TiO 2 for water splitting has been known for decades, yet the adsorption structure and hydrogen bonding of water at the interface with TiO 2 have remained controversial. We investigate the prototypical aqueous interface with anatase TiO 2 (101) using ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) with the strongly constrained and appropriately normed (SCAN) density functional, recently shown to provide an excellent description of the properties of bulk liquid water. We find that water forms a stable bilayer of intact molecules with ice-like dynamics and enhanced dipole moment and polarizability on the anatase surface. The orientational order and H-bond environment of interfacial water are reflected in the computed sum frequency generation (SFG) spectrum, which agrees well with recent measurements in the OH stretching frequency range (3000-3600 cm -1 ). Additional AIMD simulations for a model interface with 66% of dissociated water in the contact layer show that surface hydroxyls disrupt the order in the bilayer and lead to a much faster orientational dynamics of interfacial water. Nonetheless, the computed SFG spectrum for the hydroxylated surface also agrees with experiment, suggesting that SFG measurements in a wider frequency range would be necessary to unambiguously identify the character of interfacial water on anatase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6716-6721
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 6 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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