Exploration of Gas-Liquid Interfaces for Liquid Water and Methanol Using Extreme Ultraviolet Laser Photoemission Spectroscopy

Yo Ichi Yamamoto, Tatsuya Ishiyama, Akihiro Morita, Toshinori Suzuki

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4 Citations (Scopus)


We present a study using extreme UV (EUV) photoemission spectroscopy of the valence electronic structures of aqueous and methanol solutions using a 10 kHz EUV light source based on high-order harmonic generation and a magnetic bottle time-of-flight electron spectrometer. Two aspects of the observed spectra are highlighted in this study. One is variation of the vertical ionization energy (VIE) for liquids as a function of the solute concentration, which is closely related to surface dipoles at the gas-liquid interface. The experimental results show that the VIE of liquid water increases slightly with increasing concentrations of NaCl and NaI and decreases with NaOH. The VIE of liquid methanol was also found to change slightly with NaI. On the other hand, tetrabutylammonium iodide (TBAI) and butylamine (BA) clearly reduce the VIE for liquid water, which is attributed to the formation of an electric double layer (EDL) by segregated solutes at the gas-liquid interface. As evidence for this, when the pH of an aqueous BA solution is reduced to protonate BA, the VIE shift gradually decreases because the protonated BA moves into the bulk to suppress the influence of the EDL. We computed the surface potentials for these solutions using molecular dynamics simulations, and the results supported our interpretation of the experimental results. Another observation is the variation of the relative energy and shape of individual photoelectron bands for solvents, which is related to alteration of the structure and constituents of the first solvation shell of ionized solvent molecules. All of the solutes cause changes in the photoelectron spectra at high concentration, one of the most prominent of which is the degree of splitting of the 3a1 band for liquid water and the 7a′ band for liquid methanol, which are sensitive to hydrogen bonding in the liquids. The 3a1 splitting decreases with the increasing concentration of NaI, NaCl, and NaOH, indicating that Na+ penetrates into the hydrogen-bonding network to coordinate to a nonbonding electron of a water molecule. On the other hand, TBAI and BA cause smaller changes in the 3a1 splitting. Full interpretation of these spectroscopic features awaits extensive quantum chemical calculations and is beyond the scope of this study. However, these results illustrate the strong potential of EUV laser photoemission spectroscopy of liquids for exploration of interfacial and solution chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10514-10526
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept 23


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