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Observing Aqueous Solutions Using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy

Prague, 20. 2. 2017 – A joint research team from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), the University of Heidelberg, and the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague (UCT Prague) present results of a new method for experimental observation of electron-transfer mediated decay (ETMD) processes in the March 2017 issue of Nature Chemistry, “Observation of electron-transfer-mediated decay in Aqueous Solution” by Isaak Unger, Robert Seidel, Stephan Thürmer, Marvin N. Pohl, Emad F. Aziz, Lorenz Sm . Cederbaum, Eva Muchová, Petr Slavíček, Bernd Winter, and Nikolai V. Kryzhevoi.

This work utilizes X-rays to observe aqueous solutions in new ways. Historically, Nobel Prize winner (1914) Max von Laue was the first to discover diffraction of X-rays by crystals. This new research illustrates how chemists can use X-rays to observe ETMD in the liquid phase.

UCT Prague was represented on the project team by Prof. Petr Slavíček and RNDr. Eva Muchová.

According to Prof. Slavíček, Dr. Bernd Winter’s liquid microjet for photoelectron spectroscopy was key for this research, since it makes photoelectron spectroscopy applicable to highly volatile liquid solutions, including water.

Such techniques may have broad ranging future applications, according to RNDr. Muchová. The present work is just the first step into a new research field and future studies will reveal how ETMD spectroscopy may become a powerful tool for studying various properties of aqueous solutions.

Electrons emitted from highly volatile solution experience multiple elastic and inelastic collisions with gas-phase (water) molecules, and the latter must be avoided for detection of electron kinetic energies. The seemingly contradictory concept of achieving undisturbed electron travel in a region of high vapor pressure has been realized by the development of the vacuum liquid microjet technique. In tandem with the jet, an X-ray beam (with focal size matching the diameter of the jet), and the imaging focus of a hemispherical electron energy analyzer (EA) are spatially overlapped in the main interaction chamber.
 
Laboratory of theoretical photodynamics (Photox)’s main goal is to understand how controlling molecules with light is possible through the use of laser technology. Much of the work group is also dedicated to the development of new theoretical methods and approaches that deal with photodynamics.

RNDr. Eva Muchová, PhD. completed her master's degree and PhD studies at the Faculty of Science of Charles University. She’s been working at the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague since 2013. Her scientific work focuses on theoretical photochemistry, photodynamics, and the development of new approaches for studying both models and realistic systems.

Prof. RNDr. Petr Slavíček, PhD. completed his master's degree at the Faculty of Science of Charles University and his PhD studies at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University. He finished his post-doctoral internship at the University of Illinois in the USA under Professor Martinez and earned the title of professor at the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague. He also cooperates with the J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

The University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague (UCT Prague) is a technical research university with a prestigious international reputation. UCT Prague was founded in 1952 and currently consists of four faculties - the Faculty of Chemical Technology, the Faculty of Environmental Technology, the Faculty of Food and Biochemical Technology and the Faculty of Chemical Engineering.

Translation assistance from interns Caroline Coulter, Brandon Donohoe, Ellen Lechman

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Updated: 21.2.2017 14:10, Author: Lenka Matějová

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