Spectroscopic probes of the quasi-liquid layer on ice

T. F. Kahan, J. P. Reid, D. J. Donaldson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Raman spectra of the water OH-stretch region were acquired at air-ice and air-water interfaces at a glancing angle, which allowed observation of surface characteristics. The shapes of the OH-stretch bands indicate that the environment at the air-ice interface is different from that at the air-water interface and from that seen in bulk water. Water spectra measured at the surface of dodecane under low relative humidity indicate that this method is sensitive to fewer than 50 monolayers of water. Changes in the local environment of the surfacial water molecules may be induced by the presence of different solute species, giving rise to changes in the shape of the band. Dissolved sodium chloride disrupts hydrogen bonding in liquid water and has the same effect at the air-ice interface. However, when either HCl or HNO3 is adsorbed from the gas phase onto an ice surface, the opposite effect is seen: Their presence appears to increase the extent of hydrogen bonding at the ice surface. At the same time, shifts in the laser-induced fluorescence spectra of acridine, a fluorescent pH-probe present at the air-ice interface, indicate that dissociation of acids occurs there. These observations suggest that the formation of hydronium ions at the air-ice interface enhances the hydrogen bonding of surfacial water molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11006-11012
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number43
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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