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Ultrafast Electron Dynamics at Alkali/Ice Structures Adsorbed on a Metal Surface


Meyer,  Michael
Physical Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Meyer, M. (2011). Ultrafast Electron Dynamics at Alkali/Ice Structures Adsorbed on a Metal Surface. PhD Thesis, Freie Universität, Berlin.

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The goal of this work is to study the interaction between excess electrons in water ice structures adsorbed on metal surfaces and other charged or neutral species, like alkali ions, or chemically reactive molecules, like chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), respectively. The excess electrons in the ice can interact with the ions directly or indirectly via the hydrogen bonded water molecules. In both cases the presence of the alkali influences the population, localization, and lifetime of electronic states of excess electrons in the ice adlayer. These properties are of great relevance when considering the highly reactive character of the excess electrons, which can mediate chemical reactions by dissociative electron attachment (DEA). The influence of alkali adsorption on electron solvation and transfer dynamics in ice structures is investigated for two types of adsorption configurations using femtosecond time-resolved two-photon photoelectron spectroscopy. In the first system alkali atoms are coadsorbed on top of a wetting amorphous ice film adsorbed on Cu(111). At temperatures between 60 and 100 K alkali adsorption leads to the formation of positively charged alkali ions at the ice/vacuum interface. The interaction between the alkali ions at the surface and the dipole moments of the surrounding water molecules results in a reorientation of the water molecules. As a consequence new electron trapping sites, i.e. at local potential minima, are formed. Photoinjection of excess electrons into these alkali-ion covered amorphous ice layers, results in the trapping of a solvated electron at an alkali-ion/water complex. In contrast to solvation in pure amorphous ice films, where the electrons are located in the bulk of the ice layer, solvated electrons at alkaliion/ water complexes are located at the ice/vacuum interface. They exhibit lifetimes of several picoseconds and show a fast energetic stabilization. With ongoing solvation, i.e. pump-probe time delay, the electron transfer is mediated by tunneling through a potential barrier which is determined by the thickness of the ice layer. In the second system electron solvation at small alkali/water clusters directly prepared at the metal substrate is investigated. In these experiments the average number of water molecules in such a cluster can be controlled so that the population and stabilization dynamics of excess electrons can be investigated as a function of D2O coverage. Two main effects are observed: (i) the alkalis are solvated by a reorientation of the surrounding solvent molecules in the cluster; and (ii) above a critical number of water molecules per alkali excess electrons can localize at the clusters where they are energetically stabilized. This critical ratio depends on the type of alkali and is inversely proportional to the alkali-induced dipole moment. Finally, it is demonstrated that trapped electrons in crystalline ice adsorbed on Ru(001) can very efficiently mediate chemical reactions via dissociative electron attachment. When electronegative molecules like CFCl3 are coadsorbed with crystalline ice a DEA process between trapped electrons and CFCl3 molecules occurs, resulting in the formation of •CFCl2 radicals and Cl- anions. These results suggest that photoexcited trapped electrons can play an important role in heterogeneous chemical processes on ice surfaces and could thus be relevant in the polar stratosphere chemistry.